Card girls' soccer: Alexandria, Sartell tie 1-1
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria girls’ soccer team showed it could bounce back from an early deficit against one of the better teams in the Central Lakes Conference after coming away with a 1-1 tie against Sartell on Tuesday night.
One of the Cardinals’ biggest tests of the season came against Brainerd on September 4 when the Warriors ran all over Alexandria 5-0. A week later, the Cardinals had a chance to prove that score was a little misleading against a 4-1-1 Sartell team that had tied the Warriors at one apiece on September 6.
The Sabres got off to the quick start when Sophia VanSurksum gathered a ball just left of the box and sent it to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at 29:22 in the first half.
The Cardinals didn’t let that early deficit affect them. Alexandria began to create a few more opportunities that paid off when junior forward Anna Spanbauer found senior Gabrielle Koel in front of the net. Koel gathered the ball and created a shooting lane by avoiding a defender before firing it past Sartell’s Erin Deters to even things up at one.
“Alex survived a couple scary moments shortly after that,” head coach Tom Roos said. “[Goaltender] Sarah Bruzek made a save from point blank range, which left a rebound rolling along the goal line until defender Sara Schmidt was able to clear it out. Another Sartell shot late in the first half rang off the crossbar before deflecting out of bounds.”
The Sabres’ opportunities outnumbered Alexandria’s, but the Cardinals were able to pressure Sartell with a few quality chances. Koel was aggressive all night and was almost rewarded with her second goal when Deters made a diving stop before the half. Sophomore Anna Lee sent a perfectly placed free kick to the front of the net that Koel deflected late in the second half. The ball bounced just left of the goalpost as both teams were forced to settle for some close opportunities that didn’t find the net.
Bruzek had to make some athletic plays to make sure her team left with the tie. The junior keeper made a save that stopped a 2-on-1 breakaway for Sartell with about 16 minutes left. The Sabres put together one last rush in front of the net as the final seconds ticked off in overtime before the ball was cleared. Bruzek’s play was part of a collective effort that helped Alexandria show it could play with one of the top teams in the conference.
“Rachel Drew played a strong game at outside mid,” Roos said. “Emily Korkowski created some offensive opportunities, making the most of the minutes she got coming off the bench. Sarah Bruzek played her strongest game of the season so far.”
It was the first tie of the season for the Cardinals as they moved to 3-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the CLC. Things didn’t get any easier for them as they traveled to Sauk Rapids last night, Thursday, to take on a 5-0-1 Storm team. Alexandria will be at Moorhead (3-2-1) on Monday before returning home to take on St. Cloud Apollo (4-3) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.