Blake's domination of Totino-Grace in a 2-0 Class 1A girls' soccer semifinal victory Monday showed how the Bears have embraced a simple philosophy: Keep the opponent from scoring and you can't lose.

Lydia Sutton and Natalie Sill scored first-half goals for Blake (17-2-2), which registered its 17th shutout of the season.

"Getting those early goals was so nice," said Sill, a senior forward. "Our defense and our midfielders do such a great job, it makes the job of the forwards so much easier."

Blake routinely pushed Totino-Grace (16-3-2) out of the middle of the field and rarely allowed an offensive opportunity. The Eagles got off only two shots for the game, none after halftime.

"It's important to protect our goal first," Blake coach Paul Menge said. "Our defense always plays with tenacity and goes hard all the time. And it starts with our midfielders, who do an excellent job of coming back and pressuring the ball at midfield."

The Bears' victory sets up a repeat of last year's final against Benilde-St. Margaret's. Blake beat Benilde 1-0 for the 2011 title. The teams played to a scoreless tie early this season.

"It's a new year and we're a new team," said Sill, displaying her diplomatic skills. "Both teams have really good players. We're just going to work our hardest and hopefully come out on top like last year."