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Willmar thumps CMCS

Jason Groen, front, of Central Minnesota Christian heads the ball into the Willmar net off a corner kick for the Bluejays' lone goal Tuesday. Groen is being defended by Willmar's Josh Wright with goalie Steve Kluver in background. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- In soccer, goals are like pearls -- each a small treasure.

They come along infrequently -- except when you're Abdinasir Abdi, Willmar's junior center-midfielder.

He scored three times in the space of 72 seconds as the Cardinals rejected an upset bid by Central Minnesota Christian 4-1 on Tuesday at Kennedy Elementary Field in a boys Section 2A soccer match.

"That was amazing," Abdi commented when asked of the successive strikes.

Abdi now has 13 goals this season for the Cardinals.

The trifecta, which started in the game's 25th minute, obliterated the Bluejays' 1-0 lead. Jason Groen's well-aimed header on a corner kick by Brandon Van Der Puy put the No. 12 seed in front with the game just two minutes old.

But Willmar dominated the ball and would get over 50 chances with 26 shots on net. CMCS put three shots on goal in 11 chances.

Tyler Beekman made 22 saves for CMCS. He might have gotten to at least one of Abdi's low scoring shots but the footing was poor at the north goal after an all-night rain.

No. 5 Willmar (11-8) travels to No. 4 New Ulm on Saturday for a quarterfinal match.

"Our goal is to get to state," said Abdi.

CMCS finished 2-10-1. The tie was last Friday against Worthington, which got the No. 3 seed.

"We needed to play at that high level again," said Bluejays' coach Kirk Van Der Puy, "but we didn't today unfortunately."

Willmar 4, CMCS 1

CMCS 1 0 -- 1

Willmar 3 1 -- 4

FIRST HALF - CMCS: Jason Groen (Brandon Van Der Puy) 1:56 ... Wil: Abdinasir Abdi (Josh Wright) 25:44 ... Wil: Abdi (Liam Johnston) 26:05 ... Wil: Abdi (unassisted) 26:56

SECOND HALF - Wil: Johnston (Abdiqadir Yusuf) 34:17

Shots on goal - Central Minnesota Christian: 3 ... Willmar: 26

Goalie saves - Central Minnesota Christian: Tyler Beekman 22 ... Willmar: Steve Kluver 2