Whether it's the World Series on Wednesday night or a high school soccer game on Thursday morning, similarities are everywhere. In the final, deciding game of the season, one team will win and one team will not. One team will celebrate with hugs and high-fives and one team will tearfully hug it out.
In the final Class 1A girls soccer game of the 2019 season Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium, Mahtomedi defeated Orono 3-2 by scoring two goals on penalty kicks in the game’s final 12 minutes. The game-winner came with a little more than three minutes to play.
The result was the same as in the two previous 1A girls title games. Two years ago, Mahtomedi defeated Orono 2-1; the 2018 season ended with the Zephyrs defeating the Spartans 1-0 in overtime. Three games, three one-goal decisions.
There are 12 seniors on the Mahtomedi team this year, and they ended their careers with three state titles.
"Our seniors have really stepped up at the end,” said Zephyrs coach Dave Wald, who has been at the helm for 14 years. “It's going to be sad here, we're losing 12 of them. It's our second-biggest class ever coming through. And they've been a major part of all three state championships.”
One of those seniors, Lauren Heinsch, scored the penalty-kick goal that won Thursday’s game. Asked if she had ever dreamed about such a moment, she talked about dreams and teams.
“I honestly didn't even ever imagine it,” she said. “I remember when I was in elementary school and I went to go watch the girls high school team at the Metrodome. I remember all the spirit there and I was like. ‘I want to be those girls.’ And then sure enough. But I never would imagine that I would be that girl with an amazing team.”
Orono senior Claire Gagne, whom Wald called the best goalkeeper that Minnesota has produced in several years, said her team certainly wanted to win their last game together, but the fact that it was their last game together was more important than the setting.
“I think this team just wanted to go out with pride and we really just wanted to win our last game as a team,” Claire said. “And it wasn't necessarily that it was the state championship. It was the small things and the memories we've made that we wanted to really preserve, instead of having this memory. I think going into the game it was really more about playing for each other than playing for the state championship.”
The team. The friendships. The memories. Those are always more important than the outcome.
“I knew that it was like the last 20 minutes I'd ever play for this team, so let’s give it everything I have,” said Mahtomedi senior Anna Wagner, who scored the game’s first goal. “Why not put everything I have out there?”
As the postgame interview session came to a close, Heinsch and Wagner could have been speaking about either team when they said these words:
Lauren: “We're all kind to each other and there's no one that really stands out. So I think our chemistry is really strong.”
Anna: “We get along really well and that's what helps us get through games. We're willing to do anything for each other. We stick together.”
Class 1A Boys: Holy Angels 3, Blake 2 (2 OT)
Sophomore Nick McGrane scored with 10 seconds remaining in the second overtime to life Holy Angels to the victory over the defending champion Bears.
Blake had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score with two goals within three minutes near the end of regulation. The score remained that way through one 10-minute overtime period and nearly to the end of the second overtime.
“We just try to stay confident,” said Holy Angels senior Conor O’Rourke, who was named Class 1A Mr. Soccer by the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association. “Belief is one of our pillars for our soccer program. So you’ve just got to keep believing in each other. And that belief comes down to it. I mean with 10 seconds left in the second overtime and you still believe you can win? You never know what's going to happen.”
Class 2A Girls: Maple Grove 2, Centennial 1
Kelly Kloncz scored in the 18th minute to give the Crimson a one-goal advantage and Emma Fournier made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute. Centennial scored with slightly more than 12 minutes remaining in the second half on a header by Khyah Harper.
Class 2A Boys: Edina 2, East Ridge 1
The Hornets completed an unbeaten season by edging the Raptors. Oscar Smythe scored both goals for Edina and Cullen Featherstone scored for East Ridge.
Wells Fargo All-Tournament Teams
Class 1A girls/ Emma Dean, Bemidji; Kiana Bender, Cloquet-Carlton; Bella Talbot, Rochester Lourdes; Grace Seim, Waconia; Amelia Reyes, Blake; Ali Fine, Blake; Rachel Kawiecki, Holy Angels; Mia Van der Heide, Holy Angels; Ally Swenson, Orono; Sadie Koltes, Orono; Anna Tesar, Orono; Nora Chouanard, Orono; Lauren Heinsch, Mahtomedi; Audrey Sexson, Mahtomedi; Anna Wagner, Mahtomedi; Lindsey Handke, Mahtomedi.
Class 1A boys/ Henry Tolbert, Austin; Kee Rah, Austin; Nicholas Lundberg, Mankato West; Calder Erickson, St. Croix Prep; Jack Russum, St. Francis; Zakaria Mohamud, St. Cloud Tech; Ethan Miller, St. Cloud Tech; Reece Clifford, Orono; Ben Summers, Orono; Will Mortenson, Blake; Howard Henderson, Blake; Jake Shapiro, Blake; Porter Ball, Holy Angels; Mackie Zabinski, Holy Angels; Carter Hermanson, Holy Angels; Noah Hermanson, Holy Angels.
Class 2A girls/ Kaitlyn Hansen, Lakeville South; Emme Lindberg, Minnetonka; Paige Peltier, Cretin-Derham Hall; Marissa Bonilla, Stillwater; Paige Kalal, Champlin Park; Megan Carlson, Champlin Park; Kenzie Jacobson, Rosemount; Lexi Orlando, Rosemount; Olivia Kraemer, Rosemount; Khyah Harper, Centennial; Olivia Lovick, Centennial; Sydney Kubes, Centennial; Luca Ralph, Maple Grove; Emma Fournier, Maple Grove; Hannah Zahn, Maple Grove; Sarah Cortez, Maple Grove.
Class 2A boys/ Demetrius Benardy-Nelson, Centennial; Owen Johnson, Eastview; Wyatt Hall, Lakeville South; Caleb Robinson, Maple Grove; Vilas Stolpman, Mpls. Washburn; Darley Florvil, Mpls. Washburn; Ronald Hall Jr., St. Paul Central; Riaz Kelly, St. Paul Central; Reese Dodd, East Ridge; Nick Wagner, East Ridge; Brennan Featherstone, East Ridge; Alex Hager, East Ridge; Jordan Carter, Edina; Sammy Presthus, Edina; Hank Stechmann, Edina; Oscar Smythe, Edina.
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