North boys soccer continues to roll

The Simley varsity boys soccer team traveled to North St. Paul on Sept. 25 to face the North Polars. North has dominated Simley in past seasons, and that dominance continued as the Polars took down the Spartans 4-0 at Polar Field. 

With the win, North’s record improved to 9-2 overall, and the Polars were undefeated in Metro East Conference play at 5-0 as of Sept. 26. Simley’s record fell to 4-5 overall, and the school remains winless at 0-4 in the Metro East.  

“I thought the team played really well, and we deserved to win,” said North head coach Justin Oliver. “We defended very well, and capitalized on our chances.”

  North’s attackmen were relentless in the opening minutes. It only took until the seventh minute before junior forward Jebril Mohammed found the back of the net for North to go up 1-0. Junior attackman Ahmad Jalloh scored the Polars’ second goal within the first fifteen minutes of the game. The relentless attack continued for most of the game. 

“Ahmad and Jebril compliment each other very well. Ahmad is a little faster and can stretch defenses with his pace,” said Oliver. “Jebril finds pockets of space and likes the ball at his feet to both score and create plays.”

Although Simley found itself down early, that didn’t stop sophomore goalkeeper Ben Hatcher from keeping the Spartans in the game. If Hatcher hadn’t made the saves that he did, the Polars would have run away with the contest much sooner.

Simley has been known to compete with teams this season. A majority of the games the Spartans have lost were only by one or two goals. After seeing Hatcher play, it makes sense why Simley has stuck close with teams. 

While Hatcher was kept busy at one end, North’s goalkeepers didn’t see as much action at their’s. Junior goalkeeper Doug Habte made four saves in 65 minutes, and sophomore keeper Amando Guzman made one save in 15 minutes.

 

Energetic over 

6-game streak

It was only 2-0 at the end of the first half. Simley was playing with North, but the Polars’ energy stayed consistent through the second, while the Spartans sputtered. North’s attack eventually burnt out Simley’s defense. 

“Our defense imitates our attack so when we win the ball, we look to go right away and catch teams in transition,” said Oliver. “With the way we play, we consider our forwards as our first defenders.”

After the two early goals by North, the excitement settled down. The next goal didn’t come until the second half at the 44th minute when junior midfielder Saul Escobar followed up on a rebound to bring North’s lead to 3-0. 

The scoring was complete in the 49th minute when North scored the final goal of the game. Jalloh got his second score when he booted the ball towards the top of the goal, and while the goalkeeper got a piece of it, it just wasn’t the whole thing, redirecting the ball into the net. 

Jalloh and Mohammed both recorded assists along with their goals. Sophomore midfielder Gael Lopez and junior attackman Awil Dubad both helped out in the scoring process with an assist each. 

The Polars’ dominance has now streaked to six games. North has outscored its opponents 19-3 during that stretch. North’s last loss came on Sept. 8, when the Polars took a 1-2 loss to one of the best teams in the state — Duluth East. 

“That loss has been the best thing that happened to us this season,” said Oliver. “It showed us how close we are to being a good team, but also how much work we have to do.”

 

North will try and continue to stay hot to close out the season. As of press time the Polars were set to face Hudson (Sept. 29), South St. Paul (Oct. 1), Forest Lake (Oct. 2) and Tartan (Oct. 4).

The loss on Sept. 25 was a continuation of Simley’s struggles, as the team regressed to 2-4 in its last six games. Two of the five last games scheduled for the Spartans have been cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather. 

Simley has five games remaining on the schedule before the section tournament begins. The Spartans will face, as of press time, St. Croix Lutheran (Sept. 29), Tartan (Oct. 1), St. Thomas Academy (Oct. 2) and Hill-Murray (Oct. 4); the aforementioned games don’t include make-up games.   

The section tournament begins the week of Oct. 8, the week after the regular-season ends.

 

-Lucas Ailport can be reached at roseville@lillienews.com.

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