September 15, 2023 at 5:40 a.m.

Thunderbirds score six times to beat Medford

Sports Reporter

Lakeland boys’ soccer has gotten off to slower starts in 2023. On Tuesday, they got out to an early lead and never looked back.

The Thunderbirds beat Medford 6-1 at IncredibleBank Field. Three Thunderbirds scored two goals each — Yaroslav Myshchyshyn, Cam Bernard, Dominic Gironella.

“Standing on the sidelines — when you look at the game, the way teams played, I would say this is two teams that played one another that tried to play soccer. (There are) teams that want to kick and run. This was definitely not that kind of game,” coach Ihor Myshchyshyn said. “In this case, the game went back and forth with both teams trying to possess, move the ball, find the weak spot in one another.”

The win was Lakeland’s first vs. the Raiders since 2021.

“On the finishing side, we were a lot more clinical than in most of our games so far. We really were. Including the game against Rhinelander, there were squandered chances,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “In soccer or in any sport from hockey to soccer, you’re not going to score on every chance you have. Percentage on scoring on this one was higher which was nice to feel.”

Lakeland scored three goals each half. Yaroslav Myshchyshyn scored the first goal by dribbling through Medford, taking a low left shot for a goal. It was an unassisted goal at 13:49.

“Going back to possession, that created some space and opening behind their defensive line where we can actually send the ball quickly and that’s actually how we scored the first goal,” coach Myshchyshyn said. 

For the second straight game, Lakeland got out to an early 2-0 lead at 15:30. Bernard scored his first goal of the game on a 1-v-1 shot. 

The last time Lakeland led 2-0, they gave up two quick goals. This time, Lakeland scored a third goal right before the end of the first half from Yaroslav Myshchyshyn. 

“I would love to be scoring every single game that we play in the first or second minutes,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “We talked about what our emphasis more on us scoring for the last couple weeks, not to let the opponent score on us in the first minute or two because it’s such an advantage to have a goal in someone else’s net.”

The Raiders hadn’t scored yet, but Lakeland’s defense was challenged by Medford’s Dayne Jacobson. 

“(Jacobson) was really pushing us. We had to possess, we had to be really quick because he was on. We stayed patient, we kept trying, knowing that no one has an abundance of energy so by second half he disappeared,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “He wore himself out. In the first half, not easy for Lakeland boys to possess while he and a few others were pushing, forcing us to do that with a … quick pace, but the boys held on.”

The Thunderbirds led 3-0 at halftime. They were looking to take Medford out of the game early in the second half. Instead, the Raiders put one in.

Medford used a direct kick to score their first goal just two-and-a-half minutes into the second half. Anthony Seidel scored on a header with the assist from Michael Meyer.

“If we had them on the ropes at 3-0, just not to let them get off of it, not to let them back in the game for next 15-20 minutes (of the) second half and the game would be not won, but going our way for sure,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “That’s what we tried, but when we came out of the break, (it) didn’t happen that way. They scored.”

Lakeland got the response they needed. Gironella scored his first goal of the game on a pass from Jack Stepec. Gironella used a one-touch shot to score. It came six minutes after Medford’s goal.

The Thunderbirds got their lead back up to three goals at 4-1.

“There’s a huge difference between 2-0, 3-1 comparing to 4-1. So I felt like boys showed a lot of resilience and focus, and that’s one thing about the group,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “We are young and quite a bit younger when you look at the rosters. They had seven seniors, probably five-six juniors. But being young, doesn’t mean you can’t focus and you can’t play, progress.”

The next goal came from Bernard, his second of the game. He took it himself with a chip-in right over Medford keeper Cale Schulz. Yaroslav Myshchyshyn was awarded the assist. The goal came at 65:36.

“(It) was a beautiful chip over the goalie from quite a distance,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “Impressed first of all (with the) spot of it and able to execute a fairly difficult shot on target.”

Gironella put the final touches on the game with his second goal late in the half. He stole the ball and took a shot to score. 

“We are scoring two by Dominic, two by Cam which is great. He settled, he’s scoring and two to Yaroslav,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “So there are boys — it’s not just four by Yaroslav and somebody scores or another.”

The Thunderbirds limited the Raiders to just two shots on goal, seven total. Lakeland had 10 shots on goal with 14 total.

“When you look at the statistics, I was actually surprised even after score was 6-1, that our statistics were the much better because during the game, even though we possessed more, so did they when we went 3-0 in the first half,” coach Myshchyshyn said.

The win puts Lakeland’s home record at 6-0.

Lakeland played at Antigo on Thursday. Coverage of this game will be in the Tuesday, Sept. 19 edition of the Times.

Up next, the Thunderbirds (7-1, 3-1) play a home game against non-conference Washburn on Monday, Sept. 18. The game starts at 7 p.m. at IncredibleBank Field.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].


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