As the public address announcer counted down from 10 in the second half, the ball was in the possession of Detroit Lakes as the Alexandria soccer team was clinging to a 3-2 lead.
As the ball was kicked forward to Lakers senior Nicole Swanson, she kicked it towards Cardinal goalkeeper Sophia Vinje. The ball hit off Vinje and began to roll behind her. As the clock hit zero, the ball was under Vinje’s outstretched hand as the Alexandria picked up its first win of the year.
“We like to think that games against Detroit Lakes are always evenly matched,” Alexandria head coach Tom Roos said. “They play aggressive and they didn’t quit. Getting that first win of the year feels great in a game like this.”
The Cardinals got the monkey off their back in the home-opener. However, getting their first win of the season came with a scare.
Senior Camille Hegstad opened the scoring under four minutes into the game after she received a defender-splitting pass from Anna Zwilling. Hegstad scored her second goal of the season at the beginning of the second half to open up a 2-0 lead.
Alexandria made it a 3-0 game with a penalty kick goal from Zwilling with 19:39 left in the second half, pinning Detroit Lakes on its heels.
“Camille had a great game with her two goals and I thought Anna would’ve scored regardless of the penalty kick,” Roos said. “We had a lot of chances early from a lot of players. I think that’s going to be a strength of this team. I think a lot of girls are going to score this season.”
Detroit Lakes senior Anna Jones cut the lead to two with a goal. With 10:31 remaining, Alexandria’s led 3-1. Jones scored a second goal less than two minutes later.
The Cardinals didn’t pull any punches. In the last six minutes, they put four shots on net. Lakers goalkeeper Sarah Tangen stopped all four shots to preserve the one-goal deficit.
“She plays an aggressive style in the net,” Roos said. “She comes out of her net far and cuts down the shooter. We had chances at the end and she came up huge for them.”
Alexandria was able to hold off Detroit Lakes and move to 1-1-0 on the season. The win followed a Thursday 3-0 road loss to East Grand Forks. Detroit Lakes is not 0-1-1 on the season.
Alexandria is looking to win more tough games like the one on Saturday with a senior-heavy roster. Nine senior Cardinals have the experience to make this fall a positive one.
“I think that’s our biggest strength – the senior leadership,” Roos said. “These girls are really good for each other. We have some things we are working on. We need consistent defense all season. I think we have a team that is going to have a lot of fun together all season.”
Alexandria is back on the field at AAHS on Monday with a conference game against rival Little Falls.