Gallery: Tigers top Falcons

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quinn Petersen of Albert Lea goes after the ball Tuesday against Faribault at Jim Gustafson Field. The Tigers won 6-0. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Quinn Petersen of Albert Lea goes after the ball Tuesday against Faribault at Jim Gustafson Field. The Tigers won 6-0. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

With three goals in the first 15 minutes, Albert Lea built a lead it never relinquished Tuesday against Faribault at Jim Gustafson Field.

Becca Dup scored each of the Tigers’ first-half goals to lead the team to a 6-0 win.

“Her finishing in 1-on-1 situations was pretty clincal for the most part,” said Albert Lea coach Rick Barnhill. “She’s been getting opportunities all year long, and sometimes she gets denied, but tonight she was able to finish, so it was really a joy to see that.”

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The first shot ricocheted into the goal off the left post, the second bounced in after hitting the Faribault keeper’s hands and Dup completed the hat trick after settling a goal kick from Faribault and dashing down the middle of the field.

“At practice (Monday), I did about 40 minutes worth of runs and shots on goal, so I think that really paid off,” said Dup. “I just wasn’t second-guessing myself. I was going for it with my first reflex.”

Less than seven minutes into the second half, Albert Lea’s Rachel Rehnelt found the net. At the 24-minute mark, Megan Kortan scored off of a corner kick by Holly Wichmann, and the Tigers took a 5-0 lead.

Albert Lea scored its final goal with 22 minutes left in regulation. Dup sprinted past a pair of Faribault defenders and took a shot that was saved, but Rehnelt scored on the rebound.

Multi-goal games are nothing new for Dup and Rehnelt. The duo also provided offense for the Tigers Saturday at Albert Lea’s four-team tournament. Rehnelt scored twice against Fairmont, and Dup scored twice against Stewartville as the Tigers took first place.

Along with Dup and Rehnelt, Barnhill said he has confidence that Taylor Thompson, Holly Wichmann and the rest of the front line can score.

“They can all do damage,” he said.

Albert Lea had possession of the ball for 56:51, which left 23:09 for Faribault.

The speed of the Tigers offense was paired with a solid effort on the defensive end by Sarah Niebuhr, Ella Zelenak, Turena Schultz and Hanna Johnson, Barnhill said.

“It makes it hard for teams to come out of the back against us because our defense is doing such a nice job of getting the ball up to the front line that if you dare move up against us, you risk getting burned,” he said.

The win over Faribault gave the Tigers their third straight shutout and their sixth straight victory. In the last six games, they won by a combined score of 34-3.

Albert Lea (7-1-1 overall, 5-1 Big Nine Conference) is No. 3 in the 12-team conference standings. Rochester Mayo (6-3-0 overall, 6-0 Big Nine Conference) is in the top spot, and Rochester Century (6-3-1 overall, 6-0 Big Nine Conference) is No. 2.

Next, the Tigers will be tested at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rochester Century. The Panthers lost their first three games but went 6-0-1 after that.