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Boys Soccer: Late penalty shot lifts Willmar past Apollo

ST. CLOUD — Juan Contreras scored on a penalty shot at 73 minutes in the second half with the go-ahead goal and the Willmar Cardinals notched their first win of the season Thursday, beating St. Cloud Apollo 2-1 in their Central Lakes Conference opener.

Willmar (1-0, 1-1) head coach Jeff Winter said the Cardinals really overcame a flat first half when they were outshot 12-5.

“The guys really picked up their game in the second half and played with confidence,” he said. “Early in the season they’re trying to find that chemistry and they seemed to find it.”

Willmar next plays Tuesday when it hosts Southwest Minnesota Christian.

Alex McLouth scored the Cardinals’ first goal at 38 minutes in the first half on an assist from his brother Nick, putting the ball in the upper left-hand corner off the fingertips of the Apollo goalie from 18 yards out.

Willmar goalie Charlie Trochlil had 13 saves, and Brady Damhof and Joaquin Espinoza each had a defensive save.

The Cardinals last beat Apollo, the 2012 CLC champion, at the end of last year’s regular season, the only conference loss for the Eagles.

Willmar 2, St. Cloud Apollo 1

Willmar (1-0, 1-1)             1 1 — 2

SC Apollo             1 0 — 1

FIRST HALF –  A: Khalid Gelani (Ali Gelani) 9:00; W: Alex McLouth (Nick McLouth) 38:00

SECOND HALF – W: Juan Contreras, penalty shot, 73:00

SHOTS ON GOAL – Willmar: 12 … SCA: 17

GOALIE SAVES – Willmar: Charlie Trochlil 13 … SCA: Alec Logeman 10

DEFENSIVE SAVES –  Brady Damhof 1, Joaquin Espinoza 1