Sting’s resolve tested early in season

Sports Reporter

by Eric Oslund

Sports Reporter

It was an interesting start to the 2017 season for the Spectrum boys soccer team. Their first game was rained out and Minneapolis Patrick Henry arrived 15 minutes late for their second game. So the Sting had to just stand around for a period of time trying to stay loose and focused on the game while their opponents were late and then warming up.

Adrian Peterson (right) celebrates with Zachary Foell after he scores the first goal of the game to give his team a 1-0 lead. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

Once the first whistle blew, though, it was clear the delayed start didn’t effect the Sting much at all. They controlled the ball for a majority of the first half and Adrian Peterson was able to top it off with the first goal of the game, but it would be the only one scored by either team before halftime.

While it’s hard to complain about a lead, Sting head coach Richard Sonterre knew it wasn’t the greatest of positions to be in.

“1-0, for starters, is always an uncomfortable spot to be in, but it’s also a position our kids need to learn to be in. They need to be able to learn to preserve leads,” he began. “Came out in the second half pretty strong the first few minutes and they just had one launch up the field and some really fantastic individual foot skill work by one of their midfielders who brought the ball all the way up and scored a goal. Just an absolutely beautiful goal. Now they’re looking at the scoreboard and it’s 1-1.”

It was gut-check time for the Sting, but seeing that they lost their lead seemed to rattle them a little. Instead of playing up, and being aggressive, like they had through much of the game, they were suddenly back on their heels. And then another Patrick Henry goal put the Sting down for the first time.

If anything, though, trailing just seemed to calm them down. They regathered themselves and before long Caleb Rogers was finding the back of the net to tie it 2-2. Then Josh Behrens buried the eventual game winner with six minutes left, giving the Sting a 3-2 victory.

Huy Nguyen isn’t typically the Sting’s starting goaltender, but he did a great job filling in and keeping Minneapolis Patrick Henry out of the net. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

It was a great team effort, but the one who seemed to stand out above the rest was Huy Nguyen. He was a key member of the Sting defense a year ago, but in this game he was asked to step in and play goalie, where he continued to make save after save. Even when two balls got past him and his team was suddenly trailing, he never lost his composure.

“I thought the job that he did was fantastic, but more than anything talking about the pressure of being a goalkeeper, he really kept himself together,” Sonterre said. “He had his head in the game the whole time through. I can only assume he was pushing down those nerves.”

While it would definitely be great to continue these winning ways, Sonterre isn’t as concerned with that. Instead of focusing on the win-loss record this year, his primary focus is creating a positive culture for soccer and molding his players into good, ethical athletes on the field.

“As much as we want to win, we want to do things what we collectively cal the Spectrum Way,” he said. “That’s making sure our athletes have the right behaviors, the right attitudes, and are great examples of sportsmanship on the field.”