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Boys soccer: A better showing, but a loss

When Rosemount boys soccer coach Mike Floersch looked recently at his team's film from the first game of the season, he could see definite improvement.

The Irish opened the 2010 season in August with a 6-1 loss at home against Park.

Watching the film, Floersch knew the Irish had taken strides this season. But as a coach, he wasn't sure if his eyes were deceiving him.

"As a coach, you kind of go, 'Well, I hope they're improving. I think they are,' but it's nice to know for sure," Floersch said.

When his team faced Park again last week in the first round of the Class 2A, Section 3 tournament, Floersch received confirmation his team had improved. The Irish (4-12-1) lost 2-0 at Park, ending their season, but the growth was evident.

"You just watched them then and they had guys that had scored a bunch on us the first time," Floersch said of Park's talented attackers. "They have two forwards that are just fantastic. We were able to shut them down and take them out of the game. Mike Koziol totally took one of them out of the game and you could see him get upset. It was fun to watch that. They had some lucky bounces. That's part of the way the game is. I thought it easily could have swayed our way as well. Just like all season, we just didn't get the lucky bounces. It was not for lack of effort and that's what I appreciate.

"I think anybody who watched from the first game to the second game, must have been in awe as to how much our players improved and how well they did. I think Park came away saying we were a different team."

Of course, seeing his players on the film from the first game also highlighted another aspect for the Irish -- too many key injuries. A.J. Benfante and Estifanos Fairchild were still missing with injuries. Sam Temple and Josue Barrita had returned, but were still hampered by injuries. Benfante, Temple and Barrita were the team's captains.

"Injuries really hurt us this year," Floersch said. "More than I ever remember in the past."

And the bounces didn't go Rosemount's way either. After Park took a 2-0 lead, the Irish countered with several good scoring chances, but couldn't find the back of the net.

One shot by Dalton Cunningham deflected off the post and ricocheted parallel to the goal line but never crossed the line for a score.

"I came away feeling like they left it all on the field," Floersch said. "As hard as it was to lose, it was fun to see them play that type of game. We played to the potential that I knew we had."