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Card girls' soccer: Alex falls to Willmar, St. Cloud Apollo

Echo Press photo by Lori Mork Kassandra Kriese (right) battled with an opponent for control of the ball during Alexandria girls' soccer action. The Cardinals dropped a pair of games this past week.

The Alexandria girls' soccer team made some lineup changes to try to spark a Cardinal offense that has struggled to score many goals this year.

That change brought some opportunities but it wasn't quite enough to edge Willmar on the road in a 2-1 game on Tuesday night. Willmar got both of its goals in the first half to take a 2-0 lead into the break. Chloe Donoho scored 10 minutes into the game before Baylie Young added another goal late in the half.

That proved to be the game winner. Clair Illies connected 13 minutes into the second half off a pass from Jolynn Warnes that cut the lead in half. It wasn't quite enough as Willmar's defense stood tall the rest of the way to secure the win.

"[We] came out with a different lineup this game after shifting numerous players to different positions," Alex head coach Tom Roos said. "As a result, we were able to create some pretty strong offensive opportunities, but the only goal came in the second half from Illies, who was shifted from the midfield to a forward position.

"Freshman Chelsey Salto played strong at Claire's former spot in the center mid position, while senior Chelsey Mistele was solid as she was moved up to stopper."

Alexandria split the goaltending duties between senior Julia Bennett and freshman Sarah Bruzek. Bennett stopped four of six Willmar shots before Bruzek turned away all five shots she faced in the second half. Willmar's Jordan Martins stopped eight shots to pick up the win.

St. Cloud Apollo 5, Alexandria 1

The Alexandria girls' soccer team could not keep up with St. Cloud Apollo as the Eagles handed the Cardinals their fourth straight loss on Monday night.

Three of Apollo's five goals came on headers. The first came when senior Kathy Rogesheske went up and buried a header into the net past freshman keeper Sara Bruzek.

The Cardinals' only goal came from freshman Anna Spanbauer off an assist from Jolynn Warnes. Spanbauer almost added another goal off a perfectly executed header off a cross. Apollo keeper Liz Lowery was there for the stop, though, as the Cardinals continued to search for their first win of the season.

Bruzek made her first varsity start in goal for Alexandria and had a lot to deal with from the Eagles' offense.

"[She] made a respectable first varsity start with four of Apollo's five scores coming off unstoppable strikes," head coach Tom Roos said.

Bruzek had nine saves, while Lowery got the win with five saves.