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Alexandria shuts out Brainerd 2-0

Anna Lee cleared the ball on defense in a game against Brainerd on Tuesday. The Cardinals won the game 2-0 to stay undefeated in conference play, and continued their shutout streak at Lincoln Field. (Echo Press photo by Blaze Fugina)

Rachel Drew and Madison Edmond both scored for the Alexandria girls’ soccer team on Tuesday night as the Cardinals beat Brainerd 2-0 to gain sole possession of first place in the Central Lakes Conference.

Goaltender Sarah Bruzek earned her fifth shutout of the season for the Cardinals, who moved to 6-0-0 against CLC teams this season.

Head coach Tom Roos told the team before the game that it would be memorable for the Cardinals to beat perennial conference contender Brainerd in the last game they played on Lincoln Field. Next season the team will begin play at the new high school complex.

“If we win this game the last time we play Brainerd on this field these girls are going to remember this an awful long time,” Roos said.

Both Drew and Edmond scored on corner kicks by Anna Spanbauer. Roos said the team was focused on capitalizing on corner kicks before the game against Brainerd.

“We work on that a lot in practice, we take great pride in our ability to finish corner kicks,” Roos said. “I told the girls if we don’t score on a corner kick tonight I don’t think we beat Brainerd. They made sure that happened and scored on two of them.”

After both teams were scoreless in the first half of play, the Cardinals came out in the second half and scored their two goals. Edmond said it was nice to score a goal in a game the team was looking forward to all season.

“It was nice to get that,” Edmond said. “We’ve been wanting to play them and win against them for a while, so we’ve been looking forward to the game.”

Drew said the team felt relieved after she was finally able to put the Spanbauer corner kick in the back of the net against Brainerd.

“It felt great. We had a lot of chances and we just couldn’t capitalize,” Drew said. “Finally a good corner kick by Spany and Anna Lee put it to me and I just finished it.”

The Cardinals are now the only undefeated team left in the conference and Brainerd is now in second place at 4-1-0.

The Cardinals’ goaltending and defense have been main reasons for their fast start this season. They have the lowest goals against average in the conference, allowing an average of less than 0.5 scores per game, including zero at home this season.

“It always feels great,” Bruzek said after the shutout. “Brainerd is an awesome opponent, and shutouts on Lincoln Field are just happening this year.”

Bruzek attributed much of the success this season to the Cardinals’ defense.

“Anna Lee and our outside D have improved so much,” Bruzek said. “Anna Lee’s always the rock back there.”

Roos said both the defense and the goaltending have contributed to the Cardinals’ ability to shut down opponents this season.

“We have some new varsity players on defense this year, and it takes time for them to gel,” Roos said. “Every game they’re getting better and they’re getting tighter.”

The Cardinals continued their conference play Thursday night at St. Cloud Tech and will play on the road next Tuesday at Sartell-St. Stephen.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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