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Boys soccer: Irish make strides in Game 2

Rosemount senior midfielder Dalton Cunningham chases down a Park Cottage Grove player during last week's game at Rosemount. The Irish lost the season-opener, 6-1.

As the Rosemount boys soccer team was enduring a tough loss in the season-opener last week against Park, Irish coach Mike Floersch felt it was a learning opportunity for his inexperienced team.

With just three starters back from last year's 6-12 squad, Rosemount was breaking in several new players. Against a strong Park team, the weaknesses in the first game were exposed in a 6-1 loss. Two days later, the Irish tied Richfield, 1-1.

"It was not a good way to start with a brand new defense," Floersch said. "At the same time, we just kind of made them work through it. And they did start to work through it. You learn where you need to go. We try and figure out different lineups. That's what the beginning of the season is all about. We told the kids we're going to take some hits for this very reason."

It might take time for Rosemount to mesh the new starters with the few returning players. It might take time to find the correct lineup, with players in positions best suited for team success.

While the season-opening loss was tough, Floersch wanted to see how his players responded.

"It was one of those games where you've got to come away having learned something," Floersch said. "If you haven't learned anything, then it's a rough game. If you come away learning something, then it's early in the season and that's a good thing. That's kind of the way I felt."

Sam Temple was credited for the Irish's lone goal as his throw-in was deflected off a Park player into the goal.

The Wolfpack featured a talented set of forwards and it showed as they opened up a 4-1 halftime lead. After working through the early struggles, Rosemount held Park to just two goals in the second half.

"We had all new players on the field and an all new defense, and the inexperience kind of got a hold of us," Floersch said.

In the second game, the Irish took a few steps forward. Rosemount scored first and held the lead until about 13 minutes remaining against Richfield. After the score was tied, the two teams stayed scoreless through the overtime session.

Dalton Cunningham scored for the Irish about 10 minutes into the game. His crossing shot went off the Richfield goalkeeper into the net.

"We started to figure out a couple things against Richfield," Floersch said. "We were still finding that our positioning was off. We watched some video to correct some of that. We can't get our offensive attack going because players aren't making the runs we need them to. Sometimes we're battling ourselves with long passes. We're making everybody go run hard and we're getting gassed, instead of making the game simple.

"I felt Richfield should have been a win and I think they did too."

Rosemount opens the conference slate with a home game against Eagan next week.