DELANO – It was a quiet bus ride home for the Delano boys soccer team last Friday night. After letting a scoreless game at half get away from them, the Tigers found themselves right back on the field just two days later needing to bounce back. Thanks to a team effort and hot start, Delano did just that as they cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Jordan Hubmen Monday night.
“I think it’s important to know that soccer is all about your head game,” senior Hunter Elwood said. “As a team, the bus ride home from Watertown was really mellow. We had Saturday and Sunday to think about it and we came back tonight strong as a team. We forgot about it and moved on and we played better. We just needed to find that team chemistry like we did against Rockford. On Friday, we played well, but kind of fell apart that second half. It’s hard to bounce back immediately. We took our time to recover and just jumped right back on it.”
A quick start was key for Delano to turn things around. Less than four minutes into the game, freshman William Strandemo got the Tigers on the board early.
“I told them right away we needed to jump on them and get that early goal,” Delano coach Tristen Griffin said. “If you let a talented team like Jordan stay with you, it’s going to be a long game. The first goal was an important one and, we kind of let lose after that.”
An early goal wasn’t enough for the Tigers in the first half. After taking a 1-0 lead, Delano kept the pressure up. Goals from William Gould and Zach Slypen made it 3-0 Tigers with just over 14 minutes left in the first half.
“We’re so young,” Griffin said about his team. “To see them bounce back like that was encouraging. I think the leadership stepped up over the weekend. They kind of talked. They have the skill. We just haven’t been playing well together right now. It was nice to see them come out tonight and do that.”
Just when it looked like Delano would settle for a 3-0 lead heading into halftime, Reid Kangas added another. Off a rebound, Kangas delivered the fourth goal of the game for the Tigers, giving them a commanding lead heading into the break.
“It’s really nice to find a cushion,” Elwood said. “Once we found that rhythm of how we wanted to play, it was really as a team to build off that momentum.”
A balanced attack offensively for the Tigers was a big key in the win. Delano had five different players score a goal as they improved to 2-5-1 on the season.
“We have a couple of strong guys who can score,” Griffin said. “Today, it was an all-around team effort. It was beautiful.”
Delano will look to string together wins for the first time this season when they return to action Friday night at home against Orono. With just three regular-season games left, Griffin wants his team to continue playing together to get ready for the postseason.
“We want to improve and build our chemistry,” Griffin said. “We’re learning a lot with a lot of young guys. Just keep building our culture. We have three games left and then it’s a new season.”
The win for the Tigers came on Senior Night. With five seniors on the roster this season, Delano will be looking to carry that momentum into the rest of the season.
“It’s always nice to win on Senior Night,” Elwood said. “It’s good to play with these boys. I love them. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.”
For the complete story and more Delano sports coverage, check out the Friday, Oct. 2 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.
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