U-12 team competes at state to wrap up a successful season

Published 9:18 am Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Albert Lea U-12 boys’ soccer team ended the regular season with a 9-2-1 record, good enough for second in the South District.

The Albert Lea boys had the No. 1 seed in the district tournament and faced the No. 8 seed from Mankato in the the first game.

In a very physical game the Tigers came away with a 3-2 victory, playing with only one substitute player.

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In the semifinal game Albert Lea doubled their number of substitute players to two and took it to Farmington, the No. 4 seed, with a 4 – 0 victory.

The district finals matchup was with the No. 3 seed from Apple Valley, a team that one year earlier had sent Albert Lea home in the district semifinals.

Albert Lea dominated the game from start to finish and punched their ticket to the state tournament with a 4-1 victory.

The first of four games in pool play at state was against St. Louis Park. St. Louis Park scored a quick goal to go up 1-0, but Albert Lea quickly responded with two goals of its own for a 2-1 lead.

The teams traded shots on goal and late in the second half St. Louis Park was able to slide one by the Albert Lea goalkeeper and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. In game two, Albert Lea faced an excellent team from Fridley and suffered its first blowout loss of the year, losing 3-0.

“if we would have had a few more bounces today that game would have ended in an Albert Lea victory,” said coach Bob Furland. “We peppered the goal and just could not find the back of the net.”

Game three matched Albert Lea against Pelican Rapids, who the day before tied the Fridley team in a 3-3 evening game.

The Tigers took it to Pelican Rapids with a solid 3-1 win. The Tigers had a flurry of shots in the closing minutes against Pelican Rapids and had opportunities to score more.

Albert Lea’s final game of the season came against an extremely disciplined and skilled team, the Twin City Fire. The Fire had won all of its games in the pool play.

The Tigers came out with fire and put two quick goals in the back of the net. Twin City Fire would score their first goal on a penalty kick.

The teams traded shots on goal until the Fire put two goals in the back of the net just minutes apart. The first half ended with Twin City leading 3-2.

To begin the second half the Fire passed extremely well and fired shot after shot at the Albert Lea net. Superb goal keeping and defense would keep the Fire from scoring another goal. With just under two minutes to go an Albert Lea player took the ball down the right side, crossed it over the heads of the defense to a charging Tiger wing player who tapped the ball in for a 3-3 final.

The eventual state championship was played between Lakeville and Twin City Fire. The Fire blanked Lakeville in the championship game by a 6-0 score.

Albert Lea lost by one goal to Lakeville during the year and tied Twin City in the state tournament.

Albert Lea outscored its opponents 54 to 27 on the year. The three losses were by a combined five goals, and two of those games were by one goal. The U-12 boys completed their season with a 13-3-3 record.