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Kernel soccer falls in first match at Joe Quintal

Mitchell's Cameron Gauger dribbles past Sioux Fall Christian's Tyson Reitsma at Joe Quintal Field on Tuesday during a high school boys soccer game. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

The Mitchell High School boys soccer team hosted Sioux Falls Christian at Joe Quintal Field Tuesday, not only in search of its first win of the season, but it marked the first match on the newly-installed turf field.

After an encouraging performance on the road over the weekend, the Kernels had reason to be optimistic heading in.

The Chargers dampened those hopes early in the contest, sending a barrage of shots toward the Mitchell net all night long. While the Kernels answered the challenge most of the night, Sioux Falls Christian was able to come away with a 4-1 win.

“We had series of possession that demonstrated brilliance, but we just couldn’t string enough of them together to build momentum,” MHS head coach Ken Novak said. “The speed of the game was furious, and I was very proud of how our boys never gave up, staying with runs, and reorganizing our counter attacks.”

Mitchell fell behind 2-0 at halftime, but Trevor Lambert was stout between the pipes throughout the game. The Kernel goalkeeper made 32 saves, helping to keep the score close.

The lone goal of the game for Mitchell came during the second half, as seventh grader Elijah Novak scored on the rebound of a deflected shot.

“He played as winger for a full eighty minutes, which is notable,” Mark Novak said. “But especially when you realize he is in seventh grade.”

While football may not be a drastically different game on turf, soccer can be. With Tuesday being the first time playing on the turf, it took some time to adjust to the situation, according to Novak.

The Kernels hope to make some more adjustments going forward to familiarize themselves with the new surface.

“It’s a different game on turf, and training on turf will be important for us to regulate our touch, rhythm, and our spacing,” Novak said.

Mitchell (0-5-1) plays Brookings on Sept. 4 at Fishback Sports Complex.