BAXTER -- David Devine is an intense, emotionally involved Brainerd Warriors coach.
Until the final whistle in Brainerd's Central Lakes Conference boys' soccer game Thursday against the Little Falls Flyers, Devine screamed, yelled, cheered, applauded and consoled.
Devine was coaching.
It helped, too, as Brainerd blanked the Flyers 3-0 to record its first victory of the season in its first home game.
"The game was there for the taking and as a coach, you're always wanting to improve," said Devine. "Certainly, there was ample room for improvement. I have to keep remembering they're high school kids and when I see them trying the right thing I try to be calm on those because they're teen-agers trying their best.
Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Brainerd Warrior Nick Nathan (13) was congratulated by teammate James Mix after scoring the Warriors' third goal Thursday in their 3-0 victory over Little Falls.
"I saw their heads doing the right thing."
Brainerd's defense did the right thing. It held Little Falls to seven shots on goal and placed constant pressure on its opponent.
"It was very, very important because we haven't had a shutout in a long, long time," said Brainerd junior defenseman James Mix. "It feels really good to show everybody how we really play and that we can get a shutout. Plus, we beat Little Falls. That felt real good after the 8-0 shutout last year."
Brainerd keeper Josiah Collins recorded seven saves, but was helped by the work of his defensemen.
Little Falls midfielder Eric Bell came into Thursday's contest scoring three goals in the Flyers' two games. The junior was held scoreless and had a Warrior shadowing him all game.
"I don't do too much scouting ahead of time, but I was aware that he has been scoring their goals for them," Devine said of Bell. "All I did was bring his number up to my stopper and sweeper and I told them that I would very much not like his name in the paper. They did a good job.
"He had a nice shot with a little over a minute to go, but other than that I was pleased with the way they locked in on him and knew that they had to step it up when he had the ball on his foot."
The Flyers couldn't step it up enough when Brainerd's Angelo Polcaro had possession of the ball. The junior forward scored the game's first goal off an assist from Aaron Thelen at 4:40. The speedy scorer tallied again at the 12:17 mark on a short touch pass from Matt Posch.
"The second goal was what I call little soccer, which we have been working on in practice," said Devine. "It's kind of neat to see. I always say you have to do a little magic, which is just a little one-touch or little flick two or three feet to their teammate and that's what it was to set up the second goal. It was great to see."
In the second half, Nick Nathan flew to a loose ball, called off a teammate and sailed a shot past Flyers goalie Jason Casillas for the final goal.
Posch assisted on the goal.
"First win of the season is really big," said Mix. "We can go to school (Friday) and tell everyone we won 3-0 -- a shutout. The score shows they're still a pretty good team. We didn't just completely annihilate them and they played well.
"We played the best we could and got those three goals."
Little Falls 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 2 1 -- 3
First half -- 1, B-Angelo Polcaro (Aaron Thelen) 4:40, 2, B-Polcaro (Matt Posch) 12:17
Second half -- 3, B-Nick Nathan (Posch) 63:53
Shots on goal -- LF 4-3 -- 7; B 8-4 -- 12
Goaltenders -- LF-Jason Casillas (8 saves), Andrew Bratsch (1 saves); B-Josiah Collins (7 saves)
Conference -- Brd 1-0-1, LF 0-2-1. Overall -- Brd 1-1-1, LF 1-2-1. Next game -- Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m. Monday; Little Falls hosts Willmar 5 p.m. Monday.
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