by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Two speedy juniors teamed for the lone goal of what was otherwise a 90-minute stalemate, giving Elk River-Zimmerman a 1-0 win over section rival St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday at home.
Storm Heyer scored in the third minute of the first overtime with an assist from longtime teammate Joey Benz.
Otherwise both defenses held everyone in check as the Elks had four shots on goal and the Knights just two.
“That’s the the game of soccer,” said Elk coach Tom Olson. “There’s a big net, so you’d think it would be easy to score, but it’s tough. But we finally got the one we needed.”
When Benz track backed to retrieve the ball at midfield, Heyer made a diagonal run through the defense. Benz booted it over the top, leading Heyer just right. Heyer outran two defenders and sneaked the ball into the left corner.
“Me and Joey have been practicing that play quite a bit,” said Heyer, who has five of the team’s eight goals. “He goes over the top and I go around. He sees me and he knows where my runs are.”
Heyer and Benz are two of the Zimmerman athletes on the squad. They played together at Zimmerman in ninth grade and play on the same summer team.
The Elks improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 against section rivals. The Knights are 2-3-1.
Heyer said STMA had strong midfielders. “We couldn’t really get around them,” he noted.
Olson said the Elks paid special attention to forward Justin McLean, their big scorer, along with midfielder Ivan Adika and attacker Winn Nyansoer, both fast, skilled players.
“We played good team defense and covered for each other,” said Olson. “In the last 10 minutes of the first half and in the overtime we played smart and kept the ball out of our end.”
The Elks will play at Blaine on Tuesday.