Rangers outlast South Spencer, claim 2-1 victory

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Forest Park players celebrate after defeating South Spencer in Saturday evening's sectional championship
game in Dubois. The Rangers claimed a 2-1 victory over the Rebels. "Going into the second half, things just started rolling for us. We were possessing up the field, working together and not playing so much defense," Rangers coach Mike Foerster said. 

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Throughout the latter stages of its campaign, the Forest Park (8-9-1) boys soccer team has triumphed through adversity. A captivating 2-1 win over South Spencer in the Oct. 10 sectional championship added another chapter to the storied run.

The Rangers will meet a formidable Providence squad at noon Saturday in Providence. South Knox and Jac-Cen-Del will kick off the regional action at 10 a.m. Providence earned an 8-1 victory over Henryville in the Sectional 46 championship at Trinity Lutheran.

In order to stave off South Spencer, Forest Park banded together. Two second-half goals from sophomore forward Carter Hinson and junior midfielder Spenser Wolf supplied the Rangers with two major momentum boosts.

Although South Spencer pushed the tempo, Forest Park remained under control. When the Rebels searched for open space, the Rangers stifled the attacks.

“We’ve been busting our butts here over the last couple of weeks,” Forest Park head coach Mike Foerster said. “Especially because we lost five guys — four starters — for the sectional, we’ve been practicing even harder. We’ve got two freshmen and two sophomores in our defensive lines. They don’t have the experience. Man, they played their hearts out. They came out huge for us.”

The Rangers’ persistence paid dividends. Hinson fired a shot into the back of the net with 31:27 remaining in the second half.

Wolf, who claimed a cross country sectional championship earlier in the day, wanted to add some more hardware to his collection. Wolf provided Forest Park with some much-needed insurance at the 12:41 mark in the second half.

“What a great day for him,” Foerster said of Wolf. “I can’t imagine what he’s thinking right now.”

The Rebels did not go down quietly. South Spencer senior forward Lucas Esarey’s penalty kick trimmed the margin with just 4:22 to go in the game.

“We were a little bit shaky in the first quarter of the game,” Foerster said. “I think the boys knew that. They needed to respond. Thankfully, they did. Normally, we get down behind a team like this and it’s difficult to come back. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. We must score first. Thankfully, we did. Thankfully, we got two on the board before they got that PK.”

Forest Park sophomore goalkeeper Elijah Cox served as a defensive anchor for the Rangers. In his first full year of soccer, Cox provided critical contributions for the sectional champions.

As Forest Park players and coaches snipped the net’s strings, the goalkeeper beamed with pride.

“This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of,” Cox said. “I’ve had so many memories with these guys. They’ve been everything I’ve had. I would do anything for them. I can’t believe we actually did it with half our starters. I’m really proud of all of them.”

After outlasting the speedy Rebels, the battle-tested Forest Park group will enter the regional tournament with a heightened level of confidence.

“Win or lose, I was going to come off this field with my head up,” Cox said.




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