UPDATED: Moorhead boys soccer season comes to end in state quarterfinals
No. 2-seed Duluth East defeated the Spuds in the Minnesota Class AAA quarterfinals on Wednesday evening.
NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — Duluth East’s Kai Hoffman scored a goal and had an assist to lead the Greyhounds to a 3-1 victory over Moorhead in the Minnesota Class AAA quarterfinals Wednesday at Irondale High School.
Hoffman headed his first goal off an Aiden Olson free kick in the fifth minute of the game.
Hoffman assisted on William Smith’s goal in the 55th minute, but Moorhead's Ben Colborn scored a minute later off a free kick from Max Hodny to keep the Spuds in the game.
“We started off slow in both halves and I think once we scored the second goal we got a little too comfortable,” Hoffman said. “Then they scored, but every guy kept working, every guy on the team kept their heads in the game and all that work to get to U.S. Bank, that’s what kept us in the game, that’s what won us that game.”
Moorhead had a couple more chances, including a corner kick in the 78th minute where coach Ben Patrie moved goalkeeper Jacob Vannett forward in a desperate attempt to score the equalizer.
East cleared the ball, however, and sent it upfield for Jackson DesCombaz to bury in the undefended goal.
Patrie said they knew the Spuds were in for a fight, but thought there might be opportunities with the Greyhounds playing six men up front.
“Our guys really played their guts out tonight,” Patrie said. “We knew Duluth (East) was going to push bodies, bodies, bodies, so we figured if we can weather it, there’s a lot of space behind because they play with three in the back. We played into that space and we just couldn’t come up with the goal.”
Vannett was impressive for the Spuds, as well, making 14 stops in the game, including nine in the second half to help keep Moorhead in the game.
“Jacob’s the reason that we’re playing in this game,” Patrie said. “He’s a second-year player and it’s actually incredible where he’s come and he made some really good big saves again tonight. ... It was really just a lights-out performance.”
Duluth East coach Corey Bachand was happy his team is moving on, but agreed with Hoffman the Greyhounds were “off” against Moorhead.
“I think we were a little tight,” Bachand said. “We didn’t play real relaxed. I think as the game went on, we lowered our speed and our control. We came out better in the second half, but overall we didn’t play our game.”
Duluth East (18-1-1) is the top seed left in the Class AAA tournament after No. 1 seed Minneapolis Southwest lost to Rochester Mayo Tuesday. The Greyhounds will face the winner of Edina and Rosemount at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Bachand said the Greyhounds are going to “go back to basics” over the next week at practice.
“We’re going to go back to working hard at practice,” he said. “There’s been a few injuries — no excuses, but we were not at the level we have been. We’ll give them tomorrow off and then we’ll go back to work and really start working that ball again.
Moorhead 0 1—1
Duluth East 1 2—3
First half — 1. DE, Kai Hoffman (Aiden Olson), 5th.
Second half — 2. DE, William Smith, 55th; 3. M, Ben Colborn (Max Hodny), 56th; 4. DE, Jackson DesCombaz, 78th (en).
Saves — Jacob Vannett, M, 14; Elijah Kramer, DE, 6.