Season ends on bittersweet note for Romano, Albert Lea boys’ soccer team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 21, 2004

NORTHFIELD &045; Tuesday’s 3-0 section semifinal loss to the Northfield Raiders was bittersweet for Albert Lea High School boys’ soccer head coach Elia Romano. His senior-laden team was ninth-graders when he came on as C-squad coach. Now it was their last game of their last season together.

Dead-ball restarts have bedeviled the locals all season and Tuesday was no exception. The Raiders’ first score came on a corner kick in the 13th minute. In the 29th minute, a defensive tripping call gave Northfield a penalty kick at point-blank range. The opposition had trouble driving on the Tiger defense until the 33rd minute, when they successfully inked the final goal of Albert Lea’s season. Changing things up in the second half, Ethan Berg moved to the field and Jake Williams covered the goal. The Raiders continued to press, but the Tiger defense and keeper made some key saves in dangerous situations.

&uot;Northfield certainly looked like a very tight team with skilled individuals obviously very accustomed to playing together,&uot; noted Romano. &uot;We seemed intimidated by the field size and the Raiders’ skillful play and communication. We played tentatively the first half without the intensity I would expect in a section game. In the second half, the effort elevated with defense stepping up and more combination offensive play. We created chances.

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&uot;Only the state champ doesn’t end their season with a loss so, while I am disappointed, I also feel that this team made significant strides in the second half of the season that cannot be overlooked. After a dismal start to the season the guys played some very good soccer over the last six games. The only loss was the last one.&uot;