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Soccer: Alexandria College kicks off is inaugural soccer season

Alexandria Technical and Community College is offering more athletic opportunities for its students this fall, and the men's and women's soccer teams played their inaugural games at home on Wednesday night at Alexandria Area High School. It was a rewarding experience about more than who won or lost for players and coaches at ATCC.

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The Alexandria College Legends men's soccer team celebrates the program's first-ever goal during a game on Aug. 24, 2022 against Lake Superior College played at Alexandria Area High School. Monticello native Alex Westveer, facing, third from left, scored the goal with a little more than 13 minutes left in the first half.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — The Alexandria Technical and Community College is ushering in more athletics this fall season, and Wednesday was the beginning of part of that new era for the Legends.

The men’s and women’s soccer programs kicked off their inaugural seasons playing at Alexandria Area High School. Both programs went up against Lake Superior College out of Duluth where the IceHawks beat Alexandria 2-1 in both the men’s and women’s game.

“For me, it was really exciting,” coach Tom Roos said. “I’ve seen soccer grow from almost literally nothing in this community to what it is now where we have hundreds of youth playing, we have strong high school teams playing, and now we have another level of soccer. Today was really exciting and rewarding.”

Roos, the longtime head coach for the Alexandria girls’ high school soccer program, and William “Chato” Alvarado are co-head coaches for both the men’s and women’s teams at ATCC. Alvarado has a deep history as a player and coach in soccer. For 17 years, he has worked as a guest coach at Roos’ summer camp that Roos hosts each year, and Alvarado and his wife recently moved to Alexandria after getting a job at the college.

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Chato Alvarado, sitting, and Tom Roos coach from the bench during the Alexandria College men's soccer inaugural game on Aug. 24, 2022. Alvarado and Roos are co-head coaches for both the men's and women's teams at Alexandria Community and Technical College.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Alexandria College volleyball program is also in its first season this fall and opened its schedule on Aug. 24 at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Their first home game at the college gym is set for Sept. 7 against Itasca Community College at 6:30 p.m.

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Alexandria College now offers baseball, clay target league, competitive fishing, eSports, golf, soccer and volleyball as athletic options for its students.

The Legends soccer program has two Alexandria players on the women’s roster in Grace Evink and Ella Sorenson. Bjorn Karlstad, Anthony Krick, and Seah Haak make up the Alexandria players for the men, while Glenwood’s Tanner Nestor and Konner Hanson are also on the team.

The women’s roster features just 11 athletes. The men have 20 players on their inaugural roster. Eighteen of them are Minnesota natives, while Sam Saye is on the team from Fargo, North Dakota, and Joao Seguti is playing for the Legends all the way from Brasilia, Brazil.

“We are definitely going to keep and make more connections in the communities around us,” Alvarado said. “On the men’s side, we have some kids from Willmar, kids from Pelican Rapids, Monticello. We’re going to strengthen those connections, and then hopefully going to branch out as well. We’re going to try to get some international players and across the county. ATCC is right now ranked first in the state as a two-year college, and is ranked third in the nation. That’s a great way to attract players.”

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Julissa Celis-Victoria, left, and Amanda Shores, 23, sprint up the field for a loose ball during the Alexandria College women's soccer game against Lake Superior College on Aug. 24, 2022.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Alexandria women took a 1-0 lead into halftime on Wednesday when Emily Starr scored her team’s first-ever goal. The Sauk Rapids native ran onto a loose ball behind the defense and found herself all alone after getting past the Lake Superior keeper.

That early lead was a fun moment for a team that plays without any reserves on the bench due to the low overall numbers in this first season.

“The girls program is an interesting program,” Roos said. “When we started men’s and women’s soccer at the college, we knew that developing a girls program was going to be a process, not the flip of a switch. It’s a process that might take a few years to get it to where we want it to be.”

Goalie Molly Hanson, a Fargo native, made that 1-0 lead hold up with some nice saves until a little more than 20 minutes were left in the game. That’s when Lydia Steinbauer connected on a high shot to the back, top corner of the net to make it 1-1.

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The IceHawks got the game-winner with almost 15 minutes left. Catherine Bastin connected on a strong shot that got through Hanson for the 2-1 advantage.

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Alexandria College goalie Molly Hanson shouts direction to her defense during the Legends' first-ever game against Lake Superior College on Aug. 24, 2022.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

“We have a very wide range of ability levels on the team, so No. 1 we want to have a positive experience,” Roos said of the coaches’ goals for the women’s team this fall. “We want to have fun. We want to see growth and improvement as we go along the way, and I think we want to show it’s a positive experience. Evaluating the team based on its wins and losses is not what we’re going to be doing. We’re going to be evaluating on, ‘Are we showing improvement? Are we having fun? Is it enhancing the experience that they have at the college?’ If we can do that, that will also help attract girls in the future.”

In the men’s game, Alex Westveer, a Monticello native, scored the first-ever goal for the Legends, and it came just a couple minutes after Lake Superior College had jumped ahead 1-0 in the first half on an Ulrich Mvogo goal. Westveer took a pass near the 20-yard line and buried a running shot to make it 1-1.

It took Lake Superior College less than three minutes into the second half to score the go-ahead goal. Victor Andrews got free from a side angle around the 10 yard-line and lofted a shot over the outstretched arms of Alexandria keeper Elliot Colton.

Colton had some nice saves to keep the game close, but that goal proved to be the winner after the Legends’ offense was unable to generate another goal.

Both of these games on Wednesday night were about more than who won or lost for the coaches and players on these rosters. It was about giving young men and women another opportunity to connect through soccer in Alexandria.

“We’re trying to replicate that positive experience with the boys as well, even though we have more players,” Alvarado said. “The men have been pretty cohesive so far and have been supporting each other. We just need to keep working at that. Definitely one of the things we’re going to try to do is make sure everyone improves. On the women’s team, we have a wide range of abilities, but we also have that same situation on the boys’ side. At the end of the day, we want to make sure the team is improving as a whole.”

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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