BAXTER -- It was the second annual Battle of the Bypass Monday and the Brainerd Warriors Boys' soccer team defeated Lakes Region Christian School 3-1. Whether it's the Yankees and Mets or Giants and Jets, cross-town rivalries are always special and heatedly contested battles. This game fit that mode with collisions all over the field and numerous scrums around the nets.
The game's first score came off a Brainerd penalty kick at 23:04 when Warrior Jason Roberts hit a laser past LRCS goaltender Josh Kampa. Kampa was tested often in goal. He turned away a total of 25 Warrior shots on the night. Just 30-seconds after the Brainerd goal, the LRCS team came within an eyelash of tying the score but Nate Crampton watched his rocket shot off a breakaway misfire wide to the right side of the net.
Brainerd took a 2-1 lead at 32:27 when Roberts fed Raider Lincoln Lepri who flicked the ball into the LRCS goal. That goal ended the first half scoring.
The Warrior lead was cut in half just 13-minutes into the second half when Jesse Schuety put the ball past Brainerd goaltender Kevin Sexton. Seth Grotzke earned the assist for LRCS.
Lepri tacked on his second goal of the night for Brainerd at 70:36 and the assist went to Bud Rossina. That goal stretched the Warrior lead to 4-1 and capped the scoring for the night.
Much of the game's contact took place in the area of the goals, and Sexton took quite a pounding for Brainerd. Senior Brad Erickson of LRCS also experienced several collisions during the contest.
"We played tough," said a tired and bruised Erickson. "This is the first game we tried with a sweeper and it made a lot of difference. Last year Brainerd beat us 5-1 and this year it was 3-1 so that's an improvement. In the years to come, we'll have a good soccer team coming up. I'm a senior so it's disappointing that this is the last year I'll get to play against Brainerd. We have the Sub Sections coming up so we hope to do well there."
Brainerd head coach David Devine agreed that this contest was, at times, intense. He was happy that his squad was able to come away with a win.
"Lakes Region came at us strong and they played an excellent game. They were strong to the ball and made our guys work very hard. They had quite a few chances on net so we feel happy to get a 3-1 victory. Our goalie is beat up but he's okay. Sometimes, that goes with the territory."
LRCS will play at home Friday in a contest against Woodcrest Christian Academy of Minneapolis. But, this was the final home game of the year for the Warriors. Devine took advantage of the occasion to reflect on his team's progress this year.
"I'm pleased with our progress this year. Our leading scorer is a sophomore, Jason Roberts, and that's exciting for the future. I wanted this year to be our break through year and that's what we're having.
"I'm pleased with our effort against Lakes Region. We had some good passes down and then we started to get a little stagnant there upside the box. I think our communication could have been better and we could have gotten the ball out wide a few times but we'll take the win. Now, we have a tough game against Tech tomorrow and I'd like to give them a really tough game."
And so the page turns and another chapter is written in the Brained-Lakes Region rivalry. It's a series that a growing group of area soccer enthusiasts should be able to appreciate for years to come.
"This is a nice series," said Devine. "The schools are right down the street from each other so that makes it nice for the players and for the fans."
Lake Region Christian School 0 1 --1
Brainerd 2 1 --3
First half -- 1, Brd Roberts (penalty kick), 23:04
2, Lepri (Roberts assist), 32:27
Second half -- 3, LRCS Schuety (Grotzke assist) 53:04; 4, Brd Lapri (Rossina assist), 70:36
Shots on goal (by halves) -- Brd 10-13--23; LRCS 4-7--11
Goaltenders -- Brd Kevin Sexton (10 Saves) LRCS Josh Kampa (25 Saves)
Conference -- Brd 5-3-1; LRCS . Overall -- Brd 7-6-1, LRCS 2-4-2. Next game -- Brd Wednesday, October 3 at St. Cloud Tech 5:00 p.m.; LRC hosts Woodcrest Christian Academy of Minneapolis Friday at 3:30.
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