The Crookston Pirates Boy’s Soccer team’s Noah Kiel scored a hat trick on the way to a 3-0 victory over the Fergus Falls Hillcrest Academy Comets in a Section 8A matchup at the Crookston High School soccer field on Thursday afternoon. The Pirate win was the first over Hillcrest in boys’ soccer since 2005, but there is a caveat to the previous stat, because Hillcrest used to have a coop with Pelican Rapids, but the two schools went separate ways a few years ago. “It was a good feeling,” Crookston head coach Lon Boike said. “Kids played really well today. We changed our defensive formation right before the game, and that worked really for us.”

The Pirates scored first for the first time this season, as Kiel scored his first goal off a corner kick from senior Noah Dragseth at the 2:44 mark to give its Crookston its first lead of the year at 1-0, and the Pirates led by the same score at halftime. “(The first goal) got us going right away and got us in the mood like, ‘Hey, we can win this game and put goals in the net,'” Kiel said. From the start, the Pirates’ offense looked more confident and fluent, ending with six shots-on-goal through the first 40 minutes. “As an offense, we’re progressing and getting to know each other better,” Kiel said, “and starting to play more as a team and not as individual players.”

The Pirates extended their lead a little over six minutes into the second half, as Kiel scored his second goal in traffic off of an assist from senior Gabe Montieth. “Luckily, the ball hit off of one of (Hillcrest’s) players and went in,” Kiel said. Later in the second half, Kiel had a breakaway and snuck a shot between two defenders in the 18-yard box to complete his hat trick and put the Pirates ahead, 3-0. The Pirates finished with a season-high 11 shots-on-goal. “I’d say 60 or 70 percent of the game for us was played on the offensive end,” Boike said. “That was nice. That gave us a lot of opportunities to work on our passing, and I thought the kids played well.” Crookston’s defense also held strong down the stretch, limiting Hillcrest Academy to just one shot-on-goal in the second half and just eight through the whole match. Crookston switched to a diamond formation on defense Thursday, which includes a sweeper and stopper position. Noah Dragseth played sweeper, while Thor Harbot played the stopper role. “Tim (Moe) suggested the formation before the game,” Coach Boike said. “It worked really well for us. We’re going to stay with it. Defensively, I thought we were really tough.”

Crookston improves to 1-3 on the year and will travel to Pelican Rapids on Tuesday. “It’ll be fun to see how much we have improved,” Boike said. “It’ll be fun to go up there and see what we can do against those guys. We’ll see what happens. They’re awfully good, but it’ll be fun.”
Hillcrest Academy drops to 0-2 on the year.  

1st 2nd Final
Hillcrest 0 0 0

2:24 – Crox – Noah Kiel (Noah Dragseth) CK
46:19 – Crox – Noah Kiel (Gabe Montieth)
63:37 – Crox – Noah Kiel 

Saves 1st 2nd Total
Kaleb Thingelstad – Crox 5 1 6
Matthew Knutson – FFHC 4 3 7