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A second-half scoring burst allowed Eau Claire North to pull away from the Chi-Hi boys soccer team in a 8-3 Cardinals loss at Dorais Field on Tuesday.

Tied at three at the half, the Huskies scored four goals in less than five minutes to overtake Chi-Hi.

North’s Logan Podolak achieved a haul and Lushi Peng Xiong scored a hat-trick for seven of the eight Huskies’ goals.

“We got beat by some easy through-balls that were right on target and what ended up happening is everybody else just watched the play happen and the goalkeeper is left there by himself,” Chi-Hi coach Justin Engum said with regards to the defensive lapses. “It’s just disappointing and hard for the goalkeeper to do (much in that situation).”

The first half featured a back-and-forth battle as each team responded quickly to goals by their opposition.

North took the early lead on Podolak’s first goal, but Sean Irvine scored for the Cardinals to tie the game up at one six minutes into the match.

The Cardinals took the lead about 15 minutes into the game when Brady Weyandt found the back of the net.

Five minutes later, Podolak evened the score.

Chi-Hi took one last lead at the 38:28 mark when freshman Jordan Simonson volleyed the ball past the goalkeeper into the top right corner of the net to up 3-2.

Peng Xiong notched his first goal in the 41st minute and the teams headed to the break all tied up.

The mistakes caught up to the Cardinals in the second half as Podolak (two) and Peng Xiong (one) combined for three goals in about three minutes starting at the 57th minute.

North’s Roy Schemmel capped the scoring burst from the Huskies that put the game out of reach.

Peng Xiong complete the hat-trick with a goal on a penalty kick later in the game.

Engum said the strategy of employing four defenders on the back line in a conservative approach ended up hurting the team because the defenders communication wasn’t strong and they didn’t play aggressive.

“We were playing four in the back and when we play four in the back it usually it’s more safe,” Engum said. “When you feel safe you feel like you don’t have to cover for each other.”

The Cardinals were shut out in the second half by the Huskies, but they were without two of the team’s better goal scorers in that half of play.

Collin Albright received a red card in the team’s last game and wasn’t available and Irvine suffered an injury after a collision with the North goaltender late in the first half.

“When you basically don’t have your two leading scorers, and then some of your guys when the goals started happening they get frustrated and they don’t play their top game,” Engum said.

The Cardinals (0-6, 0-4) resume action on Thursday when they travel to Hudson.

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Chippewa Herald sports reporter

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