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Laker girls' soccer propelled by Lee, but can't get past Apollo in playoffs

It was a proven fact that the Detroit Lakes girls' soccer season was going as far as senior goalie Amber Lee could take them.

In the Lakers' final two games of the Section 8-1A playoffs, Lee more than proved her worth to the squad by having two phenomenal performances -- unfortunately ending in the semifinals with a 3-0 loss to St. Cloud Apollo Tuesday.

After snuffing out a Crookston shot in the sudden-death shootout Saturday to preserve the DL victory in the quarterfinals, Lee registered an amazing 25 saves against St. Cloud Apollo in the losing cause.

The Eagles outshot the Lakers 26-7 and controlled play in DL's zone for much of the contest.

"Amber kept us in the game," said DL head coach Dave Carter. "St. Cloud came out hard and quick in the first 15 minutes and peppered our goal, but Amber saved everything."

DL was able to cause some pressure after settling in later in the first half, which ended with the game at a scoreless tie at halftime.

But the top-seeded Eagles started the second half like they did in the first, with lots of pressure.

This time, St. Cloud Apollo didn't let up, and finally broke through the Lee-wall with 16 minutes left in the game.

"We only had one shot on goal in the entire second half, so I decided to pull our defensive player Marta Borgeson up to the midfield to try and generate some more pressure, and that's where St. Cloud scored their next two goals," Carter said. "We needed to score. Losing 1-0 is the same as losing 3-0."

Even though the loss overshadowed Lee's gutsy performance, the feat didn't get past Carter's attention.

"Amber just had a phenomenal game," Carter said. "St. Cloud is a very talented team with some fast attackers, and they probably should have had more goals."

The Lakers upset Crookston Saturday with a sudden-death shootout.

After DL defensive player Angela Peterson found junior forward Emma Butzer in the penalty area to tie the game 1-1, the game went into overtime.

A scoreless extra period led to a shootout, which ended with a 4-4 tie, forcing the sudden-death portion.

Lee, who had a sudden-death win against East Grand Forks in the playoffs her freshman year and a similar win versus Fergus Falls last year, didn't flinch against Crookston either.

Ali Aafedt converted her high-pressure penalty shot, setting up Lee's great save on Crookston's attempt, to put DL in the semifinals.

"We were hoping to send the semifinal game against St. Cloud into a shootout, because we knew we had the best goalie in that situation," Carter said.