Unbeatable: Park soccer team finishes season undefeatedThe Park boys B-squad soccer team finished the 2012 season last week undefeated. Park was 11-0-3 on the year, scoring 50 goals while allowing only eight goals. Park earned eight shutouts in its 14 matches.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
There’s not many high school soccer teams that can say they were unbeatable. But, the Park boys B-squad team can.
The Wolfpack finished the 2012 season last week undefeated. Park was 11-0-3 on the year, scoring 50 goals while allowing only eight goals. Park earned eight shutouts in its 14 matches.
Park head coach Todd Hanson, who has been with the program for 28 years, said this season was one of the most satisfying in his nearly 30 years of coaching.
Hanson said three words came to mind to describe the team: resilient, work-ethic and perseverance.
“This year’s team excelled at everything I threw at them,” Hanson said. “We were sound technically, tactfully and were always winning balls whether on the ground or in the air. We played outstanding all year long. Strong midfield play led to a potent offensive attack. We wore teams down consistently due to our incredibly fit and conditioned team.”
Park played the majority of its games against foes from the highly competitive Suburban East Conference. However, the team also played against perennial powers like Eagan, Apple Valley and Minneapolis South. The Wolfpack also earned the championship of its own Park Invitational Tournament by beating Champlin Park 3-1 and Duluth East 4-0.
“We played an incredibly tough schedule – one of the toughest I’ve ever had,” Hanson said. “The SEC conference has become very competitive over the last five years or so. The boys understood the importance of executing when opportunities arose in the final third. The mindset was so determined and focused on both sides of the ball that good things always happened.”
To add to the feat, Park accomplished everything it did with just 13 players on the roster. There are 11 players on the field at all times for every soccer game.
“With such low numbers – just 10 sophomores – we called up three ninth-graders to fill the team,” Hanson said. “We played with just 12 players – only one sub – for the first month due to an injured player. There were a number of players who never came off the field.”
Park was captained by sophomores Jake Lanik, John Cullinan, Chris Lopez and Dalton Kellen.
Hanson said the success of the Wolfpack was a true team effort.
“I love the fact that non-superstars were finding ways to compete,” Hanson said. “Our mindset as the year went on was that we could not be beat. You need more than just one or two players to be successful. It’s a numbers game. I want to thank the players for always giving me their best effort. Their positive attitudes carried us through the season and the parents supported the team all season long.”