ALBERT LEA -- Willmar's amazing run through the girls soccer postseason came to an end Thursday as the Cardinals lost to Albert Lea 2-1 in a shootout in the Section 2A championship match.
Willmar scored the first goal of the match in the 70th minute. Chloe Donoho took a sideline pass from Karis Rogers from just outside the box and buried it into the far side of the net.
But Albert Lea came back with a controversial goal as Cardinal goalie Chelsey Wierschem made a save on a shot in the 72nd minute, left a rebound and was in position to make a second save, but collided with Albert Lea's Sophie Miller and the ball went into the Cardinals' net.
Neither team grabbed a significant advantage in overtime and Albert Lea won in the shootout, 2-1.
"There were times when we were in control and times where they were in control," said Willmar coach Jeff Winter. "The girls left everything out on the field. I don't think they had anything left to give."
This year's Willmar squad won twice as many matches as any team in the school's history, but couldn't capture the school's first state soccer tournament berth.
"It's just a hard way to end a good season for us," Winter said. "This program made strides this year. I'm extremely proud of the girls and the way they played."
Albert Lea 2, Willmar 1
Willmar 0 1 -- 1
Albert Lea 0 2 -- 2
FIRST HALF - no scoring
SECOND HALF - Wil: Chloe Donohoe (Karis Rogers) 70:23 ... AL: Sophie Miller (unassisted) 72:38
OVERTIME - no scoring
SHOOTOUT - Albert Lea 2, Willmar 1
Shots on goal - Willmar: 13 ... Albert Lea: 19
Goalie saves - Willmar: Chelsey Wierschem 16 ... Albert Lea: Stephanie Ferguson 16
Defensive saves - Willmar: Hannah Murphy 1, Leslie Christensen 1 ... Albert Lea: Annalise VanEnkel 2