Upset, a commonly used sports term, carried two meanings after Northfield toppled Mankato West 3-0 on Monday in the Class 1A semifinals.
The No. 5 seed Raiders (16-3-3) upset the top-seeded Scarlets (18-3) and avenged a 1-0 loss on Sept. 26. How they kept Mr. Soccer recipient Jacob Makela off the scoresheet, however, drew coach Leonard Woelfel's ire.
Beyond sending two and sometimes three players after Makela, standard practice for teams this fall, "it was kind of persistent infringement of the rules," Woelfel said. "A little push here, a little shove there, cleats up from behind."
Raiders coach Scott Wopata objected, saying the two times Makela got hit were in the process of a Northfield player going for the ball.
"We just try to play clean," Raiders goalkeeper Cristian Fuentes-Rivera said. "If there's a foul on him, that happens. That's the game of soccer. People foul each other, get up and keep on moving forward."
Makela, who scored 44 this season, said Monday's rematch probably was more physical than the regular-season game but added, "It's the biggest stage in the whole entire state, everything's going to be a little more physical, more amped up."
Goals from Matteo Lombardo and Thomas Gallagher in the first 16 minutes put Northfield in control. Lombardo, an exchange student from Italy, added a second-half goal. And to think he contemplated sitting out soccer this fall. "Now I've scored twice in U.S. Bank Stadium," Lombardo said. "That's pretty amazing."
DAVID LA VAQUE
St. Thomas Academy 1, Blake 0: Last year in the Class 1A semifinal, Cadets forward William Mayleben broke his collarbone and his team lost 2-0.
On Monday, in the semifinal game, Mayleben scored the only goal of the game in a victory against Blake (16-4-2) that advanced the Cadets (17-4) to the championship match Thursday against Northfield.
"This is the complete opposite of how I felt last year," Mayleben said. "This year coming in and getting the game-winning goal is magical. It is something out of a storybook."
Nine minutes into the second half, St. Thomas Academy midfielder Amanuel Bird sent a pass to the front of the net. Mayleben outleaped the Bears defense to redirect Bird's pass into the net.
The Cadets made the goal stand up, largely because of aggressive play from senior goalie Matthew Wahl.
As time expired, Wahl let out a leaping fist pump.
Wahl and Mayleben quickly found each other in the postgame celebration and shared a hug years in the making. "I've been friends with [Mayleben] for a long time, and to see him score the biggest goal of our year so far was great," Wahl said.
ELLIS L. WILLIAMS