Albert Lea soccer boys top Loyola in section

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The weather was clearer and the wind calmer by the time the Mankato Loyola Crusaders got to Hammer Field for Saturday’s Section 2A boys’ soccer quarterfinal, but the competition was not hospitable.

The advantage was all local with the fourth-seeded Tigers racking up three unanswered goals in

the first half on the way to a 4-0 shutout of the fifth-seeded Crusaders.

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Co-captain Nate Lombardi opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on an assist by Peter Drachmann. Drachmann turned around and inked the insurance goal 90 seconds later on a Conner Keyeski assist. Zach McGinnis closed out the first half with a goal at the 34th minute.

Sixteen minutes into the second half, A.J. Kortz drove home the final spike off a Keyeski corner kick. Back in net, co-captain Ethan Berg had to make only a few key saves behind a near impenetrable Tiger defense.

Head coach Elia Romano was pleased with the performance.

“We tightened up our passing and did a great job of converting opportunities to goals,&uot; said Romano. &uot;I am really happy with the attitude and effort of the entire team. Over the last four or five games, we have played our best soccer of the year and it is a direct result of everybody showing up ready to work. A number of individuals gave a great performance but this win is really the result of an outstanding effort from the entire team.”

As pleasant as the outcome against Loyola, Romano remembers last season’s semifinal loss and is looking forward to the rematch at Northfield set for 7 p.m. Thursday.

“You never want to look ahead, but all season I have had both Northfield and (Mankato) West in the back of my mind,&uot; said Romano. &uot;Both teams are playing very well and it will be imperative that we get the absolute best out of every player. Over the last few weeks we have set a tone in practice and games that ensures our very best soccer game against Northfield in the semifinals.”