Vikings get revenge on Hunters

Bergstrom scores five goals in win

Brett Bergstrom
Brett Bergstrom

Senior Brett Bergstrom led the offensive attack for the North Branch boys soccer team during Saturday’s matchup against Duluth Denfeld at home.

The attacker scored all five Viking goals for a 5-2 win over the Hunters. Bergstrom found the back of the net less than five minutes into the game, then had to leave due to an ankle injury. The captain returned in time to score another goal before half, putting North Branch up 2-0 at half.

Bergstrom added another three goals in the second half, with the final shot belonging on a highlight reel, according to head coach Paul Pignato.

“Brett was standing behind a goal-side defender who had the ball between himself and the net, and Brett just reached around with his leg and shot the ball into the left side of the net,” Pignato said. “I asked Brett if the defender kicked it in, but it was all Brett. That fast, and the ball was in the net.”

Bergstrom is now among the top-10 scoring leaders in the state with eight goals so far this fall and is tied with St. Michael-Albertville senior Sammy Voss in leading the Mississippi Eight Conference.

Pignato said he is seeing improvements on all levels. He added that about a dozen more players joined the Viking squad after school began, including eighth-grade starting defender Dawson Linkert, who along with first-year goalie Cameron Sampson and senior captain Mike Stephens, are putting up a big stop on defense compared to years past. Last season, the Vikings fell to the Hunters 4-1 in regular-season play and then 2-1 to close the North Branch season in the second round of the section tournament.

North Branch also played Cambridge-Isanti and Buffalo last week, falling 4-0 and 2-0, respectively. Last season, the Vikings fell to the Bluejackets.

“We’ve got a lot of tough games left, but we’re not losing like we have before — there hasn’t been any big blowouts like last season,” Pignato said. “From a wins point of view, beating Denfeld was a pretty big deal.”

The Vikings are now 2-5 and hosted Chisago Lakes on Tuesday. Next, North Branch travels to Princeton for a 5 p.m. matchup on Thursday, Sept. 19.


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