Centennial capped the soccer season and the first run of MSHSL state tournaments at U.S. Bank Stadium in style Thursday, recording the first state championship in the program’s history. And the Cougars did it from a rare place, as the fifth-seeded team in the eight-team field.
They held off second-seeded Rosemount 2-1 to win the Class 2A state championship. Centennial (18-0-3), which lost in the state quarterfinals last year, was making its sixth appearance in the state tournament and first time in the championship game.
Rosemount (17-2-2) had been to state five times previously (most recently in 1997) and also was playing in the title game for the first time.
Both teams reached Thursday’s game by narrow margins. Centennial had defeated Lakeville North 2-1 in a shootout in the quarterfinals and beat Andover 2-1 in Tuesday’s semifinals. Rosemount outlasted Minnetonka 2-1 in overtime in the state quarterfinals and beat Minneapolis Washburn 2-1 in the semifinals.
“To get to the moment is something that only two teams in the state do,” said Irish coach Gretchen Stramel, who played on Rosemount’s last state tournament team. “The girls played hard and they came up a little bit short. They fought to the end. What they did in order to get here was nothing short of spectacular. They have to hold their heads up high and be so proud of everything that they accomplished.”
Tessa Trettel scored both goals for the Cougars, one in each half. Her goal eight minutes into the second half made it 2-0. The Irish kept battling, with Lauren Bangh making it 2-1 on a goal with 6:40 remaining in regulation.
“It’s unbelievable,” Trettel said of the tournament experience. “It’s amazing that the hard work we put in during practice pays off on the field.”
Centennial coach Ginger Flohaug said her team’s position as the fifth seed “probably” provided evidence that the Cougars were overlooked when the eight tournament head coaches went through the electronic seeding process.
“I feel like in the coaches rankings, they either don’t know our opponents from the north (suburbs) or don’t respect them,” she said. “Having Andover (which finished third) and us in the final four should help that in the future.”
One of Flohaug’s pregame goals was to make sure everyone on the roster saw playing time. And that indeed happened.
“I’m so proud of every player,” she said. “It’s great to get everybody in and touch the field and know what it’s like to play in a championship game.”STATE SOCCER TOURNAMENT
2A boys/ Stillwater 6, Andover 1
2A boys/ Wayzata 2, Edina 0
1A boys/ Northfield 3, Mankato West 0
1A boys/ St. Thomas Academy 1, Blake 0
1A girls/ Benilde-St. Margaret’s 3, Hill-Murray 2
1A girls/ Mankato West 3, Dover-Eyota 0TUESDAY SEMIFINALS
2A girls/ Centennial 2, Andover 1
2A girls/ Rosemount 2, Minneapolis Washburn 1TUESDAY THIRD-PLACE GAMES
1A boys/ Mankato West 2, Blake 0
1A girls/ Hill-Murray 3, Dover-Eyota 0
2A boys/ Edina 3, Andover 0THURSDAY
2A girls/ Andover 2, Minneapolis Washburn 1CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
1A boys/ St. Thomas Academy 1, Northfield 0 (2 OT)
1A girls/ Benilde-St. Margaret’s 2, Mankato West 1
2A boys/ Stillwater 2, Wayzata 0
2A girls/ Centennial 2, Rosemount 1
BY THE NUMBERS
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