John's Journal
A Great Day Of Soccer At The Metrodome11/4/2010
Championship Thursday was filled with great plays and memorable moments as four state soccer titles were decided at the Metrodome.

--In the Class 1A boys game, Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park defeated Mankato East 3-2 in overtime, with Gerald Ben scoring the game-winner. Both teams came into the championship game unbeaten.

--Rogers captured the 1A girls title with a 3-1 victory over Mahtomedi. Jessica Bianchi scored two goals for the Royals, who capped an unbeaten season. The loss was the first for Mahtomedi.

--Apple Valley defeated Minneapolis Southwest 3-0 in the 2A boys contest, giving the Eagles their second title in a row and extending their state-record winning streak to 47 games. Southwest finished the season with a 22-1 record. Hudson Fasching scored two goals for the Eagles.

--The final game of the day pitted Lake Conference rivals Eden Prairie and Wayzata for the 2A girls title. Eden Prairie won 3-0 with Taylor Uhl scoring all three goals.

For photo galleries from each game, visit the MSHSL Facebook page.
Things To Know About This Week's Football Section Finals11/3/2010
Ninety-six teams are still playing football in Minnesota, and that number will be cut in half when section championship games are played Friday and Saturday around the state.

Four games are especially noteworthy because they match up undefeated teams ...

--4A Section 3/ No. 4 South St. Paul (10-0) at No. 1 St. Thomas Academy (9-0), 7 p.m. Friday. These teams met twice last season, with STA winning both. They are both in the Classic Suburban Conference but did not meet during the 2010 regular season.

--2A Section 2/ No. 6 Triton (10-0) at No. 1 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday. This is a rematch of last year’s section final, which W-E-M won 27-0 en route to the state title.

--1A Section 6/ No. 2 Barnesville (10-0) vs. No. 3 Browerville (10-0) at the Fargodome, 3 p.m. Friday This is another rematch from last year’s section championship. Barnesville beat Browerville 33-7 before falling to Minneota in the state quarterfinals.

--Nine-Man Section 3/ No. 3 Edgerton-Ellsworth (10-0) vs. No. 6 Wheaton (10-0) at the Fargodome, 12:30 p.m. Friday. These teams met last year in the section semifinals, with Wheaton winning 40-0 before losing to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in the section final.

Here are some other numbers, facts and assorted tidbits…

The playoff field includes…
43 of 48 No. 1 seeds
28 No. 2 seeds
18 No. 3 seeds
3 No. 4 seeds (Hill-Murray in 4A Section 4, Sauk Rapids in 4A Section 8, East Grand Forks in 3A Section 8)
2 No. 5 seeds (LeSueur-Henderson in 3A Section 2, Glenville-Emmons in Nine-Man Section 1)
1 No. 6 seed (Cleveland in Nine-Man Section 2)
0 No. 7 seed
0 No. 8 seeds

This weekend’s matchups include …
27 No. 1 vs. No. 2
15 No. 1 vs. No. 3
1 No. 2 vs. No. 4
2 No. 3 vs. No. 4
1 No. 2 vs. No. 5
1 No. 3 vs. No. 5

In 5A, 2A and 1A, all eight No. 1 seeds are still alive…
In 4A and 3A, six No. 1 seeds remain
In Nine-Man, seven top seeds remain

Defending state champions still alive …
Minneota (1A), Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2A), New London-Spicer (3A), Totino-Grace (4A), Cretin-Derham Hall (5A).

Top-ranked teams still alive …
Nicollet (Nine-Man), Springfield (1A), Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2A), Albany (3A), St. Thomas Academy (4A), Wayzata (5A).

After this weekend’s games, state quarterfinals will be played Nov. 11, 12 and 13 at sites around the state before moving to the Metrodome for the semifinals Nov. 19-20 and the Prep Bowl games Nov. 26-27.
More Indoor Soccer; Football And Cross-Country Ahead11/2/2010
Greetings again from the press box at the Metrodome, where the state soccer tournament continued Tuesday. The day’s most exciting game ended with Apple Valley defeating Lakeville North 2-1 in a Class 2A boys semifinal.

Apple Valley is the defending state champion and Tuesday the Eagles extended their state-record winning streak to 46 games. Apple Valley and Lakeville North were scoreless until the 67th minute, when Tom Obarski got a goal for the Eagles. Lakeville North answered with an unassisted goal by Torbjorn Morkeberg in the 71st minute for a 1-1 tie, and the game-winner came in the final minute of regulation when Dane Grundstrom scored for Apple Valley.

In the first 2A boys game Tuesday, Minneapolis Southwest defeated Stillwater 2-0. The Lakers will meet Apple Valley in Thursday’s title game.

Thursday’s championship slate looks like this: Prairie Seeds Academy and Mankato East will play for the 1A boys title at 10 a.m., Rogers and Mahtomedi for the 1A girls crown at 12:30, the 2A boys game between Apple Valley and Minneapolis Southwest will be at 3 p.m. and Eden Prairie and Wayzata will decide the 2A girls champion at 5:30 p.m. One third-place game will be held Thursday, with Lakeville North meeting Stillwater in 2A boys at 8 a.m.

To see lots of photos from Tuesday’s soccer action, check out the world-famous MSHSL Facebook page.

This is a busy week of prep sports, with football section finals being played Friday and Saturday and the state cross-country meet being held Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. I’m planning to watch South St. Paul play at St. Thomas Academy on Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams in Class 4A Section 3, and then bright and early Saturday morning I’ll be in Northfield for the annual running of the kids.

And if you haven’t already done so, get out and vote today.
Who Are Those Guys Standing In A Snowstorm? Officials!11/2/2010
This photo may appear to be a bunch of ice fishermen wearing matching outfits in an attempt to stay warm on a cold January evening. But they are Minnesota high school football officials, and they represent the passion and commitment of all the men and women who give back so our high school students can have the best possible experience.

This photo was taken a week ago, on Oct. 26, at a Nine-Man section football playoff game in Fergus Falls. The officials are referee Haakon P. Vaadeland, umpire Rod Erickson, linesman Jim Runyan, line judge Jerry Loud and back judge Dan Rehkamp from the Viking Land Officials Association.

The temperature was 34 degrees with wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph, a wind chill around 0 and up to four inches of snow on the field. Hillcrest Lutheran defeated Ashby in the game, and the commitment of the officials will be remembered for a long, long time.
A Full Day Of Soccer, More On Tuesday11/1/2010
We all remained cozy and dry Monday, since the Metrodome is the home of the state soccer tournament semifinals and finals. The Monday schedule consisted of six semifinal games inside the dome.

Tuesday's schedule is highlighted by Class 2A boys semifinal games, with Minneapolis Southwest meeting Stillwater and Apple Valley facing Lakeville North. Three third-place games also will be played Tuesday.

Here’s the roundup from Monday...

Class 2A girls semifinals
Wayzata 1, Stillwater 0
An early goal held up as Wayzata (16-2-3) defeated Stillwater (21-2) to reach Thursday’s title game against Eden Prairie. Taylor Wodnick scored on a header in the first half for Wayzata, and Megan Pyrz’s three saves kept Stillwater off the board.

Eden Prairie 2, Mounds View 0
Aliena Krausert scored at 24:22 and Taylor Uhl made it 2-0 at 63:58 as the Eagles (19-0-1) moved to the title game. Goalkeeper Kathleen Charley stopped two shots by Mounds View (14-6-2).

Class 1A girls semifinals
Mahtomedi 3, Blake 0
Junior forward Emily Sierakowski scored all three goals as the Zephyrs (19-0-4) defeated the Bears (18-2-2). Sharon Oldani made seven saves for Mahtomedi. In Thursday’s title game, the Zephyrs will meet Rogers.

Rogers 1, Chisago Lakes 0
A goal by Jessica Bianchi in the sixth minute put Rogers (23-0) ahead and the Royals held on for the rest of the game to defeat Chisago Lakes (16-6-1).

Class 1A boys semifinals
Mankato East 1, St. Cloud Cathedral
East’s Abdifatah Aden scored with an assist by Adam Osman with 3:17 remaining in regulation. East (18-0-2) goalkeeper Derrick Davis made four saves and Ben Kemper had two saves for Cathedral (17-5-1).

Prairie Seeds Academy 4, St. Paul Academy & Summit School 0
Gerald Ben scored three goals and Carlos Boquin had one to carry the Lycans (18-0-1) into Thursday’s championship game against Mankato East. Prairie Seeds had 14 shots on goal to none for SPA. St. Paul Academy (15-5-1) goalkeeper Matt Fiedler stopped 10 shots.

To see a photo gallery from Monday's games, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.