Despite good play Tigers fall short against Century

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2005

ROCHESTER &045;&160;Once upon a time the Albert Lea Tigers girls’ soccer team would have been happy to escape a mauling by the Century Panthers with only a 2-0 loss.

This time, the Panthers have to feel lucky that they escaped Hammer Field with the win because the Tigers stepped it up in hopes of extending their unbeaten Big Nine streak.

Fractions of an inch and fractions of a second are all that separated winning from losing.

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No playbook could script Century’s goal in the first half; there was more luck than skill involved.

A Panther deflected the ball upward into the crossbar and straight down onto the keeper’s back.

Though she spun around and moved the ball safely out of play, the sideline referee ruled that it had fully entered the net.

The second half goal was a well-executed attack where the Panther attacker was a half second faster kicking the ball out from under the diving keeper’s outstretched hand.

&uot;As a spectator, it was great high school soccer to watch,&uot; observed Albert Lea head coach Rick Barnhill.

&uot;The only disappointment was the outcome.

Albert Lea and Century went toe-to-toe up and down the field for 80 minutes.

The Tigers had adequate chances to score, but it just didn’t happen.

&uot;The Panthers out-shot us 13 to 6 over all, but the Tigers took the game to them and out-shot them 4 to 3 in the second half.

If you discount that strange first goal, it was a very tight game.&uot;

The Tiger junior varsity did not fare well, playing good soccer, but falling 3-1 to Century with Cheyenne Quam scoring the lone Tiger goal of the day.

The two C-squads ended their game in a scoreless tie.

Coach Raissa Byer noted that both teams had their opportunities and cited Leala Hall’s solid goalkeeping as important to Albert Lea’s defensive success.

The 3-3 Tigers (3-1 in Big Nine) faced Austin last night and come home to Hammer Field on Saturday for the Albert Lea Invitational.

Games are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with Mankato East and Worthington among the featured teams.