Unfinished business on Lightning players’ minds

Eastview girls remember painful end to 2012 soccer season

Eastview’s Claire Pueschner (right) and Lakeville South’s Maddie Nelson pursue the ball during the Lightning’s 3-0 victory Tuesday. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy
Eastview’s Claire Pueschner (right) and Lakeville South’s Maddie Nelson pursue the ball during the Lightning’s 3-0 victory Tuesday. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Club soccer is becoming an increasingly tempting option for Minnesota high school players, who have been told they cannot play on both club and high school teams during the fall.

Eastview’s girls, however, returned everybody from their 2012 state tournament roster who could come back, save for one player who was injured while playing summer soccer and is now a team manager.

For the Lightning, unfinished business was a strong lure. Eastview was stung in the state quarterfinals last fall in a 1-0 loss to White Bear Lake. The Lightning believed it controlled play throughout, but White Bear Lake scored the game’s only goal with about three minutes to play.

Eastview derived more than a little satisfaction from its 6-1 rout of White Bear Lake in a non-conference game Aug. 24. The Lightning is 4-1 overall after shutting out Lakeville South 3-0 on Tuesday.

The Lightning is ranked third in Class AA; its only loss was 2-1 at No. 1-ranked Minnetonka last week. Eastview owns a 1-0 victory over defending state champion Wayzata.

Many of Eastview’s players are on high-level club teams in the spring and summer. Several of them played for a Dakota Rev team that won its division at a major youth tourney in Sweden in July. But when the calendar turns to August, the focus switches to high school competition.

“I think our girls separate the two seasons, club and high school,” Eastview coach David Herem said. “Many of them were on the field that night against White Bear Lake in the state tournament, and they remember how they felt when we lost.”

Eastview returns a powerful offense and has scored 16 goals in its first five games. In recent games, the team has improved its defense, shutting out Wayzata and Lakeville South in back-to-back games.

“Clean sheets against two teams like that? That’s awesome,” Herem said. “Wayzata and Lakeville South are two teams with a lot of skilled players.”

The Lightning switched sophomore Christina Barry, a defender last year, to goalkeeper. “A lot of players wouldn’t want to do that, but she said, ‘Whatever’s best for the team,’ ” Herem said.

Junior Lizzy Fontes and senior Chandler Peterson have been standouts on defense, the coach said. Junior Claire Pueschner and senior Brianna Lindstrom also are returning defenders.

Seniors Kellie McGahn and Elise Abbott are two of the South Suburban Conference’s most dangerous forwards. Senior Jazzy Chanthalakeo has moved from defense to midfield. Maddie Haworth and Katie Eaton are returnees at midfield.

The Lightning plays non-conference games at home against Duluth East (11 a.m. Saturday) and at St. Paul Academy (4:30 p.m. Monday) before returning to South Suburban Conference action at Bloomington Kennedy at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.