The Girls U12 Redbirds out of the Alexandria Area Soccer Association won the 2021 Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Summer State Championship in Rochester on Sunday.
The Redbirds played in five games over the weekend on their way to a championship.
After going 2-0-1 in pool play on Friday and Saturday, the Redbirds beat U12 Central out of St. Cloud 6-0 to advance to the championship round. It was then where Alexandria avenged its only tie of the tournament over Rochester MN Rush with a 3-1 win.
“The play from our goaltending and defense was our key to success,” head coach Mike Helwig said. “Our defensive front continued to improve all season and only allowed four goals the entire state tournament. The players that helped provide this defensive backdrop were Autumn Struck, Julia Liepke, Jada McAdoo, Josie Huebner, Alexis Bergs, Lylah Marshall, Anna Korynta, Maggie Sundby and Nora Urness.”
The Redbirds got timely scoring from Emma Schmidt, Emma Laurent, Esryn Dahl, Mila Warzecha, Lillie Ogdahl, Abbi Helwig and Struck throughout the five games.
“After winning the championship, the girls were on fire,” coach Helwig said. “The emotions and celebrating– it was so fun. It has really been impressive to watch these girls improve throughout the season and bring that to a peak here at the state tournament.”
The Redbirds got one of their biggest wins of the season over Boreal FC in the first game of pool play. Boreal was previously undefeated heading into the state tournament but fell to Alexandria 4-2. The Redbirds outscored opponents 22-4 over the course of the weekend.
Alexandria supporters showed up by the dozens in Rochester to watch the Redbirds bring home a state championship.
“The energy and excitement on and off the field were incredible,” Helwig said. “Our parents and fans are so fantastic. After our first goal of the tournament on Friday, a burst of cheer exploded from our parents, families and friends that were on the sideline. An event official was standing next to me and asked if we brought the entire town of Alexandria with us.”
Helwig, along with assistant coaches Grace Evnik and Olivia Knapper, is excited to see how youth success could translate to growing soccer in Alexandria.
“Alexandria soccer continues to grow year after year,” Helwig said. “A summer state championship win like this can only add to the excitement around soccer for our area.”