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Willmar advances with rout

Willmar forward Abdiladif Ibrahim, left, boots the ball out of the air past Hutchinson midfielder Joseph Patino Tuesday in the first half of a Section 2A soccer match in Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- It took the Willmar boys soccer team a little time to get going Tuesday.

But after Liam Johnston's goal in the 31st minute, the Cardinals started to play like a No. 4 seed should, beating No. 13 Hutchinson 4-0 in a first-round Section 2A soccer match at Kennedy Field.

"We seem to play to the level of the team we are playing," said Willmar coach Jeff Winter.

Johnston took a corner throw-in from Graham Dahl and maneuvered around two Tiger defenders for an open shot and an easy 15-foot score.

"Once we got that first goal, we started to take over the momentum and got energized," Winter added.

Dahl scored twice in the second half, the last on a penalty kick in the 46th minute. Junior Becerra also scored a goal.

Patrick Courtney had three saves in the shutout victory over Hutchinson, which is a first-year varsity program.

Winter said the Cardinals benefitted from the return of two captains, Jeff Newberg and Kevin Keenan, who each missed a couple of weeks with injury.

Willmar will play No. 5 Fairmont, which beat New Ulm 8-1, on Saturday at a time to be determined at Kennedy Field.

Willmar 4, Hutchinson 0

Hutchinson (2-10-1) 0 0 -- 0

Willmar (12-4-2) 1 3 -- 4

FIRST HALF - Wil: Liam Johnston (Graham Dahl) 31:00

SECOND HALF - Wil: Dahl (Johnston) 41:00 ... Wil: Junior Becerra (Tim Rogers) 45:00 ... Wil: Dahl 46:00

Shots on goal - Hutchinson: 3 ... Willmar: 11

Goalie saves - Hutchinson: Justin Schmit 7 ... Willmar: Patrick Courtney 3