Late goals lift Cardinals over DL girls in 8A quarters
Alexandria senior midfielder Molly Panther had a sour taste in her mouth after Detroit Lakes knocked out the Cardinals in penalty kicks her freshman year. With her high school career on the line three years later, Panther’s penalty kick goal lifted the Cardinals in a 2-0 win over the Lakers in the Section 8A quarterfinals.
“(Head coach Tom Roos) always says that we have a rivalry with DL,” Panther said. “My freshman year, I was on this team when they beat us in a penalty kick shootout. For me, this was a redemption moment. Senior year, we finally beat them. I was one of the only girls that was on that team that lost to DL. We finally beat DL, and I’m so excited about that.”
Sports have a way of expressing the dramatic. Not only was it Panther’s penalty kick that ended up being the game-winning goal, but the opportunity came after an unfortunate bounce. It was one the Lakers weren’t as fortunate to get just minutes later.
“The ball was sent into the box that came from the left side,” Roos said. “As it came in, it either took a bounce or was deflected off a player and hit the arm of a DL player cleanly. Her arm was in an unnatural position, which led to the penalty. It was just an unfortunate foul. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. We had the same thing happen to us where there was kind of a flukey bounce, and we were called on a handball. It was just outside the penalty area.”
Leading up to the kick, Panther tried to keep a clear mind. But after the ball went in, she could breathe a sigh of relief.
“Honestly, not a whole lot was going through my head,” Panther said. “I just tell myself to calm down, you know? I don’t want to think about it too much when I’m out there. When I scored, it was honestly such a weight off my shoulders. I know there’s not a lot going through my head before the kick, but I can feel the pressure. Having my team celebrate after that kick felt amazing.”
Morgan Jones scored the Alex insurance goal launching a ball from roughly 20 yards out that sniped the top right corner of the goal. Laker keeper Sarah Tangen had no chance to stop the shot.
“Anything could’ve happened in the last 10 minutes with them being down by one,” Panther said. “They could’ve scored and got the momentum heading into overtime. That goal was a big relief for the whole team.”
Alexandria’s win not only punches its ticket to the Section 8A semifinals but also secures a final home game. Bemidji upset top-seeded East Grand Forks 3-0 on Thursday afternoon to keep its season alive.
In the south half of the section, No. 2 St. Cloud Cathedral defeated No. 3 Little Falls 3-1. No. 1 Sartell-St. Stephen got by No. 4 Sauk Rapids-Rice 4-1.