Gallery: Tigers top Rockets

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Haley Larson of Albert Lea attempts to head the ball Tuesday against Rochester John Marshall at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Haley Larson of Albert Lea attempts to head the ball Tuesday against Rochester John Marshall at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

A goal with 55 seconds left in the first half swung the momentum to the Albert Lea girls’ soccer team, and it never swung back.

The goal was the first of three unanswered scores by Albert Lea to erase a 2-1 first-half deficit Tuesday and beat Rochester John Marshall 4-2 on a soggy Jim Gustafson Field.

Heavy rain caused the opening kickoff to get pushed back about 30 minutes.

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“With the delayed start and not going through the normal warm-up, it just took us off of our game a little bit,” said Albert Lea interim co-head coach Darren Hanson. “It took us a while to find our pace again.”

Less than five minutes into the game, the Rockets lit up the scoreboard. However, the Tigers answered 12 minutes later when Megan Kortan passed the ball down the middle of the field. Becca Dup caught up with it and found the net to tie the game, 1-1.

Rochester John Marshall scored again 61 seconds before halftime to take a 2-1 lead, but Albert Lea rebounded again. This time, it only took six seconds. On the ensuing kickoff, Becca Dup took the ball a few feet past midfield and was tripped. Kortan lined up the free kick and blasted the ball past the Rockets’ goalie.

“It was definitely a big boost, and we just needed to get re-organized again,” said Albert Lea interim co-head coach Bob Furland.

The Tigers dominated the second half.

Albert Lea threatened regularly in the first 10 minutes and Rachel Rehnelt gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at the 32-minute mark, 3-2.

With 14 minutes left, Kortan gave Albert Lea some breathing room with her second goal of the game. Again, it was off of a free kick. The Rockets’ defense gave Kortan a lane, and she took it.

“I always go for the right top corner, and it works especially well if you get it over (the goalie’s) head because they’re out of the goal,” she said.

Defensively, Albert Lea was led by goalies Kathryn Flaherty and Alexa Wood along with a solid group of fullbacks.

“Claire (Sherman) and Callie (Hanson) worked hard all game,” said coach Hanson. “They

(Rochester John Marshall) had a lot of speed on the outside, and we kept it contained.”

Albert Lea (3-1-1 overall, 3-1 Big Nine Conference) entered the game coming off a 6-0 home win over Northfield. The Rockets (2-4 overall, 1-3 Big Nine Conference) came into the game with a two-game losing streak.

Last year, Albert Lea beat the Rockets 5-2, and the Tigers went on to beat Rochester Mayo 3-2 and Rochester Century 3-1 in the next 10 days to complete a sweep of Rochester’s public schools.

Next, Albert Lea will play at 5 p.m. Thursday at Red Wing (3-3 overall, 3-2 Big Nine Conference). The Wingers are coming off a 1-0 win at Northfield.

Tigers head coach Rick Barnhill will be back on the sideline at Red Wing after getting a red card and serving a one-game suspension.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Sept. 9 post.