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Sartell too much for Card girls soccer team in 8A playoffs

The Cardinal girls' soccer team stuck with the south's second seeded team for a half in its opening round game of the Section 8A tournament before Sartell-St. Stephens opened things up in the second for a 4-0 victory on Tuesday afternoon.

The Cardinals had the wind at their backs in the opening 40 minutes. They used that to create some scoring chances and keep the Sabres from gaining much momentum. Alexandria had five shots in the opening half to Sartell's seven. Neither team could find the back of the net, though, as they went into the break in a scoreless tie.

In the second half, it was the Sabres turn to play with the wind at their back. They exploded in the final 25 minutes, scoring all four of their goals to end the Cardinals' season. Hayley Schuchard, Kendra Rasmussen, Morgan Haider and Erin Krueger all scored for Sartell. Marisa Eigen and Joie Warnes created the best scoring chances with their effort for Alexandria. Sarah Bruzek battled a strong Sabres' attack and finished with 15 saves in the game.

Head coach Tom Roos admits he was a little concerned coming into the game because of what his players were doing before the game. The Cardinals spent the hours prior to the game volunteering at the Special Olympics bowling meet. Roos suggested that his team should maybe reconsider because he thought that might be too much to fit into an already tight schedule.

"That was not an option to the girls," Roos said. "This was going to be the second year that the girls have helped with this project and they were not going to miss it. Seeing my players truly embrace their role in assisting, supporting and cheering for their Special Olympic athletes and friends was a wonderful experience that left me very proud."

The Cardinals did not lack any energy as they stuck with a Sabres team with a 10-2-2 record in the Central Lakes Conference. Sartell was just too much in the final 40 minutes. The loss marked the end of a season that saw Alexandria finish 3-11 in the CLC.

"Alexandria has a rich history in athletics and activities," Roos said. "You don't make a varsity team as a player or coach in Alex without having a competitive attitude. That same competitive attitude can lead to many sleepless nights during a season when wins are hard to come by.

"At the same time, I recognize that I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with girls who can demonstrate compassion for their fellow human beings, as they did at Special Olympics. They are individuals who understand what it means to celebrate success with their teammates as well as support and lift each other up in tougher times. The seniors on the squad are leaders on the team, leaders in our school, and later in their lives, will be leaders in the communities that they live in. This is a group of winners, and I am proud to have been their coach."