Soccer: Elks trip Rebels 3-1 in conference finale; 2 players hurt

Gavin Doppler (18) and Josh Chuba (10) of the Elks chased the ball along with a Champlin Park player. (Photo by Bob Burley)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

It was a costly victory, with two starters injured, as Elk River-Zimmerman closed conference play beating Champlin Park 3-1 at home Thursday evening.

Elk  goalie Cody Christ suffered a fractured cheekbone in a collision and attacker Storm Heyer hit his head on the turf when tripped. Both are sophomores but key players. Heyer is second on the team with five goals.

Storm Heyer (16), jostling with Champlin Park's Logan Burchill here, left the game after a fall in the second half. (Photo by Bob Burley)

“Cody is done for the season,” reported coach Tom Olson on Friday morning.  “He crushed the bones under his right eye and will need reconstructive surgery to fix it.  The surgery will be in about a week.  As for Storm, he is doing better today but has a definite concussion.  The trainer is going to evaluate him today.”

Ryan Ness, Grant Tesdahl and Nelson Valdez knocked in the goals and sophomore Joey Benz played 78 minutes in goal after Christ’s early injury.

The Elks finished 6-4 for fourth place in a conference race that was about as close as you can get. Centennial beat Blaine 4-1 Thursday to finish in front with a 6-3-1 mark. Maple Grove was 5-3-2, Osseo 5-3-2, Elk River 6-4-0, Anoka  4-3-3, Blaine 5-4-1, Coon Rapids 4-5-1, Andover 4-6-0, Park Center 4-6-0, Armstrong 3-5-2, and Champlin Park 2-6-2.

Christ was injured in a collision with teammate Gavin Doppler and a Rebel player while leaving the net to try cover a ball, in the second minute of play.

Doppler was called for using his hands in the box on the play, and the Rebels were awarded a penalty kick, which they made, with Benz in goal.

Benz, sophomore from Zimmerman who played some goalie for the Thunder last year, was unscathed the rest of the match.

Heyer, also of Zimmerman, was upended when he got past a Champlin Park player who then slid under him and struck Heyer’s ankle. In the fall, Heyer hit his head on the turf.

Olson thought a penalty should have been called, and it wasn’t, but that became moot as Tesdahl scored on the same play with an assist from Ness for a 2-1 lead.

The Elks (8-7 overall) will close the regular season at Eden Prairie on Saturday at noon, and will start Section 8AA next Thursday.