Tigers fall to Winona, ready for sections

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

No team wants to lose its last regular season game, but the Albert Lea girls&8217; soccer team lost to Winona last year too and the Tigers&8217; postseason went very well.

The locals dropped a 2-1 decision to the Winhawks at Hammer Field Saturday, breaking a nearly four-week unbeaten streak.

Coping with a strong cross wind, the Tigers opened strong and had the Winhawks on the ropes throughout the first half.

In the 14th minute, a Winona player illegally trapped the ball in the box giving the Tigers a point blank indirect kick.

Whitney Wilson and Jaclyn Rehmke teamed up with Wilson&8217;s shot going to goal.

For the next 26 minutes, the locals threatened with several quality opportunities but added no more.

Going into the second half, Winona stepped up the pressure, putting the Tigers on their heels and flip-flopping the game.

Now the Winhawks were the aggressor and in the 62nd minute, on a corner kick, were able to push themselves, the ball and Tiger goalie Kendra Olchefske into the goal.

With less than 75 seconds left in the game, a misplayed Winona throw-in pinballed in the Albert Lea box allowing a Winhawk to poke it through.

&8220;Like last year, this was a game without consequence,&8221; said Albert Lea head coach Rick Barnhill. &8220;You are never content with a loss, but Century had won the Big Nine and Albert Lea had already been seeded second.

We are going into sections strong.

Everyone is back and healthy, the team has not been shutout and those three losses were only by a single goal.&8221;

The Tigers finished the regular season 10-3-3 overall, 6-3-3 in the Big Nine and outscored their regular season opponents 53-15.

Against schools of similar size (Class A) Albert Lea is 8-0-0 with 30 goals for and three against with six shut outs.

Most importantly, the Tigers are 5-0-0 against section foes, outscoring them 24-3 and shutting out three.

The second-seeded Tigers get a first round bye and open section play against the winner of the Fairmont/Willmar game Saturday at Hammer Field beginning at 2 p.m.