North Branch 4, Two Harbors 3 Senior Brett Bergstrom scored his second goal of the game with 1:30 remaining in the second half to lift the Viking boys’ soccer team to a 4-3 win over Two Harbors in the season opener. The game was played at North Branch High School on Saturday, August 24. Winds of well over 20 miles per hour had a significant effect on the scoring in this game.
Two Harbors scored three times in the first ten minutes of the game by popping the ball over the head of the Vikings’ first-time starting goalkeeper, junior Cameron Sampson. But Sampson and the Viking defense made some adjustments and shut down the Agate offense for the rest of the contest. Junior Ryan Schaal converted a penalty kick near the end of the first half to get the Vikings on the scoreboard. Early in the second half, seventh grader Jose Flor scored his first varsity goal to cut the Two Harbors lead to 3-2. Midway through the half, Bergstrom scored his first goal of the game to tie the score at 3-3. On the winning goal, Flor crossed the ball to Bergstrom at the six yard line and Bergstrom knocked it in to give the Vikings the win.
“Their goalkeeper kept them in the game,” said Viking head coach Paul Pignato. “But once we had the wind at our backs in the second half, we steadily wore him down.” Rockford 2, North Branch 0 The Vikings held Rockford of the scoreboard till late in the first half, but the Rockets scored with two minutes remaining to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission. They added an insurance goal in the second half and went on to shut out the Vikings 2-0 in a game played at Rockford on Thursday, August 29. “We controlled the game for most of the first half,” said Viking head coach Paul Pignato. “We had some chances, but weren’t able to penetrate the 18-yard box to get a chance to finish close. Their star player showed up late for the game, got dressed, came into the game just before the half and scored. Once he showed up, they had someone who could move the ball well and it proved to be a little too much for us.”