by Eric Oslund
The Rogers boys soccer team cannot seem to catch a break this season.
They were still trying to figure somethings out in their first game of the season, when they lost to Brainerd 2-0, but, afterwards, head coach Chris Miller believed they had figure it out after that, and that appeared to be true.
Things were going well in the team’s second game of the season against Fridley, but that’s when tragedy struck. Junior midfielder Noah Pedersen went down and ended up breaking his hand/wrist, and will now be forced to miss a good chunk of the season.
He played a key role on the team as the center midfielder, often times controlling the pace of the game for the Royals, but with him out the team is now having to rely on a lot of inexperience at the position.
“Our senior center mid, the guy who’s been with us for awhile, he shattered his hand, so he’s out for three months now, Noah Pedersen,” Miller began. “Really, those center mids control the pace of the game. When we were getting those offensive drives, our forwards, I think, did a great job. They’re fast, they’re scrappy, but two on four is bad numbers is those center mids can’t get up and help support them. It’s hard to score goals two on four if you’re the two guys… It’s just about fluidity of positions I guess. We’re going to have to start looking at some of that stuff there I guess.”
After a 3-0 loss to Waconia on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Royals head coach said that it may be time for his team to go back to the drawing board and try something different. He’s going to look at moving some defenders up to forwards, and forwards back to defenders. Tinker around with the lineups and personnel pairings to try and find combinations that work well with each other.
There could be some troubles that come with that, as players may have some lapses while learning to play in a new spot, but Miller doesn’t seem to be too concerned with that, and the reason is his goaltender who continues to play at a high level.
“Thomas Morrison, our goalie, I think played a fantastic game,” Miller praised after his team’s game against Waconia. “He had a really good game through the whole thing. None of (the goals were) his fault at all. I think it was a good game, so that’s good that we have a strong goalie back there.”
For as rough as the start of the season has been for the Royals, the results may be a little skewed. Miller is a fan of having his players go up against some of the toughest competition he can find instead of just beating up on an inferior team as a way to get wins early in the season.
He believes that going up against better competition will increase the performance of his players, and he has gotten it against Waconia, who is a very good team, and from St. Cloud Tech and Moorhead, who will likely face one another to represent their section in the state tournament.
And while he believes these games have been helping, both Miller and his players are looking forward to conference play getting underway.
“We’ll jump into the Mississippi 8,” the head coach said. “All of this is preseason kind of, not preseason, but we haven’t played any conference games yet, so we’ll jump into conference games on (Sept. 7) and our hope is we will be a little more evenly matched with some of those there.”