Rangers enter sectional with motivation

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Forest Park's Tyler Berger and Bloomfield's Jaden Abrams vie for the ball during Monday's soccer sectional opener in Dubois. Forest Park defeated Bloomfield 6-0 and Berger had a hat trick in the victory. For more photos from the match, click here.


DUBOIS — The Forest Park boys soccer team knows they might not be the favorite to win this year’s Class 1A sectional championship in Dubois.

They’re well aware they haven’t hoisted a boys soccer sectional trophy since 2013.

But after several key seniors graduated from the teams in IHSAA Sectional 48, this year seems to potentially be wide open — but the Rangers? Well, they like the underdog role.

“I just feel like we usually get overlooked and we’re kind of using that as motivation this year,” said junior Hunter Helming who scored two goals in Forest Park’s 6-0 opening round victory over Bloomfield at Dubois on Monday evening.

Head coach Mike Foerster added: “I think Northeast Dubois is still the favorite on paper but I’m hoping everyone counts us out because they normally do. I hate to use the term ‘chip on the shoulder’ but these boys want to prove what they got.”

The Rangers (7-9-1) got a good start with that by shutting out the Cardinals, who are in their first season as a varsity soccer program, in their opening round matchup. Not only were they able to hold them scoreless throughout the entire 80 minutes, the Forest Park offense was able to show up right away.

At the 34:18 mark in the first half, Helming scored his first goal of the match to put the Rangers up 1-0 after Bloomfield goalie Oscar Pegg had a nice save earlier in the match.

Pegg made a few more solid saves but the Rangers constantly pressured the Cardinal defenders by sending shots consistently at the goal. Forest Park scored their second goal of the night at the 26:29 mark when Tyler Berger scored off of a header to make it 2-0 and the Rangers quickly made it 3-0 at the 22:25 mark as Helming scored his second tally of the night.

One of the main goals for the Rangers in this opening sectional match was to take control of the game early — it’s safe to say they did just that.

“I’ve been stressing to them that we need to jump on teams early during the tournament and tonight it worked,” Foerster said. “The boys are working really well on the attacking third and we’ve worked on that a lot this year. Now, it’s really paying off.”

Berger added: “It just gave us momentum going forward. Getting that early goal and being aggressive on the ball helped us to control the game.”

 The second half was more of the same for the Rangers as they were able to continue to be aggressive and pounce on the Bloomfield defense to send more goals in the back of the net.

Forest Park's Hunter Helming kicks the ball during Monday's soccer sectional opener in Dubois. Helming scored two goals in the first half for the Rangers as Forest Park was able to start fast in the victory over the Cardinals — something head coach Mike Foerster wanted to see. For more photos from the match, click here.

Forest Park made it 4-0 at the 36:55 mark when Berger’s second goal found the back of the net and he quickly recorded a hat trick when his ball ricocheted off of a Bloomfield defender with 30:18 to play for the fifth goal of the night for Forest Park. The Rangers final goal of the night was scored by Logan Englert as he found the back of the net with 27:41 to play.

For the remainder of the match, Forest Park tried to control possession and eliminate any scoring opportunities for Bloomfield. The Cardinals did have a few late shot attempts but they proved to be futile as the Rangers were able to hang on for the victory.

Berger had three goals on the night to up his season total to nine, Helming scored twice to up his total to seven while Englert’s goal was just his second on the season. Zach Wahl finished with the shutout in goal for his seventh shutout of the season as he added three saves. Assists came from Helming, JD Kerber, Even Tretter and Conner Knies.

With the victory, the Rangers advance to the sectional semifinal for a match with the Tell City Marksmen on Wednesday, a team they already defeated 4-0 earlier this season in Bretzville.

But the thought process for the Forest Park boys soccer team will be the same — play smart, start fast and control the pace.

“We’re just really look to possess a bit more,” Helming said. “With the field being the way it is due to rain, it’s kind of hard to play really fast so we’re just trying to slow down the pace a bit.”

Foerster added: “We’re peaking at the right time and we’re scoring some goals now which is giving the guys confidence. We’re going to go out there and play our game no matter who we play — right now, we’re focused on the prize.”

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