The Albert Lea girls' soccer team erupts off the bench after Holly Wichmann made the game-winning penalty kick Saturday against Mankato Loyola in the Section 2A quarterfinals. Albert Lea won 4-2. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune
The Albert Lea girls' soccer team erupts off the bench after Holly Wichmann made the game-winning penalty kick Saturday against Mankato Loyola in the Section 2A quarterfinals. Albert Lea won 2-1. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Surviving in a shootout

Published 10:25pm Saturday, October 12, 2013

Albert Lea takes down Mankato Loyola with 4th penalty kick

The Albert Lea girls’ soccer team had its fourth shooter line up for a penalty kick in a shootout against Mankato Loyola, and she knew what was on the line.

Holly Wichmann prepared for her attempt after Megan Kortan and Brooke Hanson gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead (shootout goals only), and goalkeeper Hanna DeVries stopped three of Mankato Loyola’s first four penalty kick attempts. A goal would give the Tigers a victory in the Section 2A quarterfinals.

“There was a little pressure,” Wichmann said. But, you just have to stay calm and not let the goalie psych you out.”

As soon as Wichmann’s shot found the net, the Tigers stormed the field in celebration, and Albert Lea head coach Rick Barnhill breathed a sigh of relief.

Even though Albert Lea scored three goals during the shootout, those didn’t go toward the final score. The team that won the shootout was awarded one goal. Therefore, the Tigers advanced to the Section 2A semifinals with a 2-1 win.

In the first half at the 13-minute mark, Albert Lea’s Mackenzie Waldemar scored the first goal of the game on a pass from Sydney Overgaard.

“That was enormous,” Barnhill said. “She was opportunistic and allowed us to settle in and start to gain control.”

Mankato Loyola evened the score at one with a goal of its own 15 minutes into the second half. As time wound down in regulation, Becca Dup of Albert Lea made several runs to the goal, but the Mankato Loyola defense thwarted each attempt. With 27 seconds left, Dup made another run at the goal, and she was dragged down. However, to Barnhill’s dismay, Dup was penalized and the game went to overtime.

Although Albert Lea had many chances, it was unable to score in overtime and so was Mankato Loyola. The game remained knotted at one. Barnhill credited his experienced defense.

“Syd Overgaard again was a stalwart on defense and was doing anything and everything she could humanly do to give us one more day.”

The Minnesota State High School League’s postseason rule for a tie after overtime are different than regular season overtime rules. During the regular season, a game can end in a tie, but in the postseason a team needs to advance, so the game goes to penalty kicks. That’s exactly what happened at Jim Gustafson Field on Saturday.

Albert Lea won the coin toss for the shootout. The Tigers decided to shoot second. Five players from each team were chosen to attempt shots.

Mankato Loyola’s first attempt clanged off the crossbar, and Albert Lea took a 1-0 lead (shootout goals only) when Megan Kortan found the left corner of the net. DeVries made a diving save on the Crusaders’ second attempt, and Waldemar’s shot was no good off the crossbar. Mankato Loyola tied the shootout with its third attempt, but Brooke Hanson gave Albert Lea its lead back with a goal in the bottom right corner. The Crusaders missed their fourth shot, and Holly Wichmann sealed an Albert Lea victory with a goal the Tigers’ next attempt.

Albert Lea outshot Mankato Loyola 32-12. The Tigers had nine corner kicks, compared to only one for the Crusaders. Mankato Loyola’s goalkeeper was busy with 26 saves, while DeVries had eight.

Next, No. 3-seeded Albert Lea (12-5-1 overall) will play at No. 2-seeded Waseca (13-0-3 overall) at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

View stats in the Scoreboard: Oct. 12 post.