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Boys soccer: Mankato East stuns Cardinals in shootout

Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar forward Nick McLouth, right, and Mankato East’s Brandon Sloniker vie for a loose ball during a Section 2A playoff game on Thursday at Kennedy School in Willmar. The teams were tied 1-1 after regulation and neither team scored in overtime. But East prevailed by winning a shootout 5-4.

WILLMAR — The Willmar boys soccer team and Mankato East couldn’t have played a closer game.

Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, neither team scored in overtime and the Cougars advanced in the Section 2A playoffs Thursday with a 2-1 victory, thanks to a 5-4 edge in the deciding shootout on a nearly dark Kennedy School field.

The Cardinals finished a solid season 10-5-2.

“It was a tighter game than it should have been,” said Willmar head coach Jeff Winter. “I’m sure I’ll look back on it (as a good season) in a couple of weeks but it’s hard right now.”

Playing with the wind in the first half, the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead on Ezequiel Gomez’ goal in the 9th minute.

The Cardinals worked the ball deep into the box. Isaac Yoakum passed across to Alex McLouth, who passed back to Gomez for an open shot.

Ahmedy Hassan scored the Cougars’ lone regulation goal in the 63rd minute.

Willmar goalie Charlie Trochlil made 12 saves in his final prep game, and defenders Brady Damhof and Jordi Lopez both made 2 defensive saves.

While the Cardinals lose 10 varsity players to graduation, the future appears bright. The Willmar junior varsity posted a 15-1 record this season and outscored opponents 95-8.

“We’ve got some talent coming up next year,” Winter said. “The challenge will be deciding who will be moving up. But it’s a nice problem to have.”

Mankato East 2,

Willmar 1, SO

Mankato East (9-6-3)        0 1 0  1 — 2

Willmar (10-5-2)                1 0 0 1 — 1

FIRST HALF – W: Ezequiel Gomez (Alex McLouth) 9:00

SECOND HALF – M: Ahmeday Hassan 63:00

OVERTIME – No scoring

SHOOTOUT – Mankato wins 5-4

SHOTS ON GOAL – Mankato East: 17 … Willmar: 16

GOALIE SAVES – Mankato East: Nick Olson 15 … Willmar: Charlie Trochlil 12

DEFENSIVE SAVES – Brady Damhof 2, Jordi Lopez 2

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372