No. 5 Alexandria had only one win in 10 games this season but left Detroit Lakes with two after shutting out the No. 4-seeded Lakers 4-0 in the opening round of the north half of the Section 8A boys soccer tournament bracket at Rotary Soccer Park Monday, Oct. 12.
Sophomore Jack Carlson scored the first three goals for the Cardinals.
In the fifth minute, he gave Alex a 1-0 lead with a header to the left of Laker keeper Evan Thomas off a corner kick.
“The Cardinals showed their true colors tonight, playing a great game and keeping it positive the entire time,” Alexandria head coach Brandon Johnson said. “The amount of improvement and dedication these players have to each other is admirable.”
The Cards controlled pace of play and ball possession early, testing Thomas often.
Myles Sansted was fouled outside the box on the end line and had a short corner opportunity that went wide. Thomas Klecker sent a perfect cross to Carlson, who was denied by Thomas in perfect position to make the save.
Under siege, DL defender Anthony DeVito kept a shot out by riding the goal line next to Thomas and stopping the ball and sending it out of the box.
A Jaegar Steele throw in became a scoring chance when Sansted passed to Colin Reilly, who was denied by another great save by Thomas.
DL’s best chance early came on a Lucas Schwan breakaway that was played into the gut of Cardinals’ keeper Ryan Meuwissen.
Reilly raced right back down the field and just missed a chance to go ahead 2-0 in the 22nd minute with a shot that rolled right of the post.
The Lakers just missed a penalty kick opportunity when Jackson Lawrence was fouled two yards outside the left side of the box. Tommy Fritz had a free kick to shoot or pass but his effort availed to nothing on net.
A pair of DL corner kicks were denied, once by Meuwissen and the second hung around in the box in the 30th minute but DL could not get the ball toward the goal.
Lucas Harstad had two scoring chances in front for the Cards, one saved by Thomas and the second went over the crossbar to keep the game a one-goal contest.
Alexandria’s continual pressure created a back-breaking goal when Carlson got loose and scored top shelf into the corner to go up 2-0 in the final minute of the half.
DL raced down the field and earned a penalty in the box, giving captain Austin Miller a huge penalty kick to go to the break only down a goal but Miller’s kick sailed over the net.
The Cardinals started putting the game away early in the second half when DL’s Gannon Braun took down Reilly to give Alex a penalty kick.
Alex sent Carlson to the dot and he beat Thomas right side for a 3-0 advantage just three minutes into the second half.
A defensive error created the Cards’ fourth tally.
Thomas played a free kick from midfield at the end line that went off his fingertips setting up a surprise corner kick for the visitors.
The Cards cashed in when an Elijah Vanderveer header bounced straight down into the ground and caromed into the right side of the net for a 4-0 lead.
Things got worse when DL was forced to play a man down when Lucas Schwan was red carded out of the game.
Detroit Lakes ends its season with an even record of 5-5.
Alexandria improved to 2-5-4 and will face top-seeded Pelican Rapids on the road Thursday afternoon at 4 in the 8A quarterfinals. The 8-2 Vikings defeated No. 8 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 10-1. The Vikings have allowed just eight goals all season in their 10 games. Their only losses are in 2-1 games against East Grand Forks (8-2-1) on Sept. 12 and Oct. 8.
The Cardinals knocked Pelican Rapids out of last year’s playoffs 3-2.
(Eric Morken of the Echo Press contributed to this piece)