ST. CLOUD — Eden Prairie goalie Lindsay Eliasen said she was trying not to think as she prepared for the shootout after the Eagles and Lakeville North played 100 scoreless minutes of regulation and overtime.
Her focus paid off, as she stopped two shots and helped fifth-seeded Eden Prairie (15-3-3) defeat the top-seeded Panthers in the shootout on Monday at Husky Stadium.
"You don't focus on anything but the ball," Eliasen said of her shootout mentality. After her final save — a diving stop against Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Ms. Soccer Hannah Cade — she didn't really realize her team had won the shootout 4-2.
"I was kind of standing there," she said. "When it hits you, it was fun."
Her effort came as Lakeville North (17-2) outshot Eden Prairie 17-3. "We were pretty lucky for them not to score," Eden Prairie coach Noel Quinn said.
Physical play by both squads resulted in four apparent head injuries in the second half. Lakeville North's Haley Steel did not return because of her injury. Neither did Eden Prairie's Kellie Fuhs, who bumped heads with Cade.
"It shouldn't have gotten that far out of control in terms of potentially two, possibly three kids leaving the field with a concussion," Lakeville North coach Jeremiah Johnson said.
Lakeville North had not given up a goal since a 2-1 loss to Eagan on Sept. 10. The Panthers gave up only three goals all season.
"We had plenty of opportunities," Johnson said.
Eden Prairie's victory sets up a title game rematch on Thursday with defending champion Eagan.
Lakeville North, making its fifth consecutive state appearance, lost in the finals in 2013 and lost in the semifinals in 2012 and 2011.
"I don't know if they'll fully be able to digest it until they've graduated and are further down the road," Johnson said of his team's seniors. "It doesn't help any today, because it still stings."