Senior night was a special one at Alexandria Area High School for the girls honored in their final season as a Cardinal. The girls soccer team dominated the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles and remained undefeated through its first five games.
Five first-half goals carried the Cardinals to a 7-0 win and pushed their record to 4-0-1 on the season. Alexandria’s chemistry on the field has shown through the early part of the season.
“It feels different because we know we don’t have another season or what the end of this season is going to look like,” senior Emma Reineke said. “It’s still very exciting to be a leader on the team, knowing that we can make a difference. I told my parents before the season that it feels like we already have the connection piece for this team down. We are clicking in practice because everybody is playing together, and we understand how we all play.”
Allie Randazzo started the goal parade early by beating the Apollo keeper in the third minute. Reineke followed it up with her first goal of the game five minutes later. Ella Westlund made it a 3-0 game midway through the first half before Reineke buried her second goal 12 minutes before the intermission.
“We have multiple people that can be a scoring threat,” head coach Tom Roos said. “We are trying to develop an ability to attack as a team. We are coming off a game at (St. Cloud Tech) where we felt like we controlled the game and dominated the play, but we couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net. This game felt much like that one, except for scoring. Tonight, we were really happy getting a greater percentage of shots on goal.”
With 34 seconds left in the first half, Morgan Jones scored her first goal of the night with an assist from Kylie James. Jones added her second goal in the 64th minute as the Cardinals took a 6-0 lead. Randazzo put the icing on the cake with her second tally late in the half.
While the offense showed out again, the defensive play was solid once again to set up goalkeeper Sophia Vinje for another shutout. Even in limited action, Roos recognizes her essential contributions.
“It’s huge knowing that she’s back there and that we can count on her,” Roos said. “Being able to play as a team is having trust in your teammates, and we know that she’s dependable. She’s going to make the plays for us. Defensively, we gave up very little. In the first half, Sophia came up very nicely on an offside ball, but we didn’t know that. She stopped one shot in the second half, so it was nice for her and the defense to get a shutout.”
It can be hard to find areas that need improvement in a 7-0 win, but Roos thinks his girls can take a step forward on set-piece attempts.
“Our corner kicks and some of our free kicks were not what we wanted them to be,” Roos said. “I think we need to continue working on our set-pieces here. Apollo had a corner kick at the end that floated right across unscathed, so it’s not just offensive, but also defensively.”
Alexandria celebrated nine seniors on Thursday night in front of a limited crowd. While staying under COVID-19 capacity, it meant a lot to the seniors to see the fans show up on their night.
“I didn’t feel like a senior until tonight when our names and future plans were announced before the game,” senior Kamryn Coauette said. “I keep playing hard so I can take advantage of every minute I get to play this season. That fact that we can come out and win 7-0 puts a big cherry on top of the cake we’ve already been served. All of the underclassmen did a great job of making this night so great.”
Alexandria’s schedule will get more challenging in the coming weeks. With games against Willmar and Bemidji this week, the Cardinals will have to stay sharp to remain unbeaten.
“We have some tough teams ahead that are different from what we’ve played so far,” Coauette said. “We have to keep working hard at practice and keep our heads up no matter what happens. We have to focus on what we can and focus on our next game.”