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Willmar trips New Ulm in 2A

WILLMAR -- Sophomore Sara Kallhoff scored 11 seconds into the match to start Willmar on the way to a 3-1 playoff victory against visiting New Ulm on Thursday at Kennedy Field.

The Cardinals (9-8-1) advance to the Section 2A semifinals on Saturday to play No. 2 Mankato West, a 7-1 winner over Austin on Thursday.

Kallhoff took a pass from Karis Rogers and lifted a crossing shot from 30 feet to put Willmar on the board immediately.

Chole Donoho soon followed with a similar shot, also from 30 feet, but straightaway with the ball sailing just below the cross bar for a 2-0 lead with the match just 11 minutes old.

New Ulm got one back on a penalty kick at 20:01 by sophomore Lydia Balge, its top attacker.

It stayed that way until just five minutes were left. Donoho drove down the middle and shuttled the ball to Rogers deep on the right wing. She one-timed it to the far post for the final score.

Willmar goalie Chelsey Wierschem made two big full-extension saves in the second half, both on drives by Balge.

The team is two wins away from state.

"We'd like to get there," said Rogers. "We're passing the ball, going hard for loose balls and playing with a lot of heart," said the senior forward. "We need to keep playing like that."

The Eagles, who finished second to Fairmont in the four-team South Central Soccer League, finish 10-10-1.

Willmar 3, New Ulm 1

New Ulm 1 0 -- 1

Willmar 2 1 -- 3

FIRST HALF - Wil: Sara Kallhoff (Karis Rogers) 00:11 ... Wil: Chole Donoho (Carli Freese) 11:09 ... NU: Lydia Balge (penalty kick) 20:01

SECOND HALF - Wil: Rogers (Donoho) 74:49

Shots on goal - New Ulm: 15 ... Willmar: 14

Goalie saves - New Ulm: Ruth Ann Illikman 5, Aimee Abrahamson 4 ... Willmar: Chelsey Wierschem 9

Defensive saves - New Ulm: none ... Willmar: none