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Girls Soccer: Early goal on free kick advances Warriors to Section 8-2A semifinals

The Brainerd Warriors girls soccer team celebrates after a goal by Gina Wasniewski against Buffalo, Thursday, Oct. 11, at Adamson Field in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

Gina Wasniewski hadn't had much luck on free kicks lately, but she capitalized on possibly the biggest one of her career Thursday, Oct. 11.

In the quarterfinals of the Section 8-2A tournament at Adamson Field, Wasniewski took a free kick less than four minutes into the contest and drove it home. Her marker stood up as the No. 4 Brainerd Warriors went on to edge the No. 5 Buffalo Bison 1-0.

"That was fantastic," Warriors coach Grant Gmeinder said of Wasniewski's shot. "That's something she's been working on all season. Honestly, in the last Fergus Falls game, she had two great free kicks and sent them probably 25 yards over the net. They were not even close.

"She stuck with it. She knew the plan. She knew her job was to shoot that. She put a great shot on net."

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Warriors 1, Buffalo 0

  • The key: Gina Wasniewski scored on a free kick 3:46 into the game
  • Overall: Brainerd 13-3, Buffalo finishes 9-8
  • Next: No. 4 Brainerd at No. 1 St. Michael-Albertville in Section 8-2A semifinals time TBA Saturday, Oct. 13.

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Wasniewski buried her goal with her right foot into the right side of the net.

"Me and Abby Pohlkamp, one of our captains, discussed what to do for the free kick," Wasniewski said. "Then we decided to shoot for it. I took the shot. I got lucky."

The victory sends Brainerd into the section semifinals Saturday, Oct. 13, at top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville (11-4-1). The Knights defeated Brainerd 3-0 Sept. 29 in St. Michael on a grass field.

"We felt like we played really well that game," Gmeinder said. "We felt good about how the game went. We're excited to play them again. I'm not sure if it will be on their grass field or their turf field this time, but we kind of hope it is turf."

The temperature at kickoff Thursday was 30 with a 10 mph wind and a wind chill of 22.

"It was very cold," Wasniewski said, "but once you were on the field running around it got a lot better."

Brainerd scored only once despite kicking 22 shots at Bison keeper Carly LaPlant.

"We were hoping to get a couple more," Gmeinder said, "but we knew it would be a tough game. We knew Buffalo was good because we played them last year in the playoffs. They're really well-coached. They're definitely a team that's coming. They will be tough for many years to come I'm sure."

The Warriors' defense limited Buffalo to just six shots—three in each half. Brainerd keeper Molly Rudolph made a few difficult saves while the Bison hit the crossbar once in each half.

"It was Molly's 10th shutout of the year," Gmeinder said. "She was phenomenal. Molly was great. Buffalo's (Kaylin Strike) had a couple great free kicks. Molly was big."

Buffalo had won its last three games while the Warriors have now won four of their last five. The teams did not play during the regular season.

Brainerd beat the Bison 3-1 in the 2017 quarterfinals.

For more photos go to https://bit.ly/2OS5qyB.

Buffalo 0 0—0

Brainerd 1 0—1

First half: Brd-Gina Wasniewski 3:46

Shots on goal: Buf 3-3--6, Brd 16-6--22

Goalkeepers: Buf-Carly LaPlant (21 saves); Brd-Molly Rudolph (6 saves)

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