Defending Class 1A champion Benilde-St. Margaret's has a thing for scoring late in the half to take the lead, it showed twice in its 3-2 victory over Hill-Murray on Monday in the Class 1A girls' soccer semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Trailing by a goal in the first half, the Red Knights got two goals from Vivian Shinall, the second with just over a minute left.
In the second half, it was 2-2 with a little more than two minutes left when Benilde-St. Margaret's junior Madison Stoks sent a corner kick cross to Claire Van der Heide, who gathered it in and rifled a shot past Hill-Murray goalie Elise Potvin.
The goal lifted the top-seeded Red Knights to a 3-2 victory and into the title game Thursday.
"It was a great ball from [Stoks], and we all knew that it was probably the last chance we were going to get," said Van der Heide, a member of last year's championship team. "We knew we had good people in the box and a person kicking it, and we just took care of it."
Hill-Murray (14-8), which had defeated Benilde-St. Margaret's 2-0 on Aug. 30, took a 1-0 lead when Katherine Schindler headed in a corner kick at 25:41 of the first half. After Shinall gave the Red Knights the lead, Pioneers midfielder Claire Cater tied it 2-2 early in the second half.
Despite graduating their four starting defenders and two leading scorers from last year, the Red Knights are now in position to win back-to-back championships.
"This was a match between two good teams," Hill-Murray coach Simbo N'diaye said. "It just happened that on [Aug. 30] we outplayed them and today they came to play."
Mankato West 3, Dover-Eyota 0: Mankato West had multiple chances to put Dover-Eyota away in the other semifinal, but off-target shots and saves by Eagles goalie Abbe Lacey on breakaways and two-on-ones kept Dover-Eyota around.
A decision to step up on a Scarlets rush in the 71st minute proved costly for Lacey, as Shelby Lund scored the game's second goal. A penalty kick goal by McKenna Buisman with 5:35 remaining ended any hopes of a comeback for the Eagles (17-4).
The Scarlets (19-2) scored multiple goals for the 17th time this year and broke a school record with 90 goals on the season.
Buisman, an all-state selection for the second time, scored her eighth postseason goal and fourth of the tournament.
"One of the keys for us up top was to keep moving it around and catch [Lacey] off guard," Buisman said. "We really like to work it inside the 18 and get her shifted off of her feet."