Hill-Murray 1, Waconia 0
Recap: Before this year, Hill-Murray seniors Shae Bottum, Peter Blaney and Joseph Schaefer — four-year varsity veterans all — never had won a section playoff game together. Now they are one victory away from a soccer state championship.
The Pioneers got a goal from Bottum only 1 minute, 56 seconds into the game and made it stand up, defeating Waconia in the Class 1A semifinals.
“That’s how we get most of our goals, in the first 10 minutes,” said Blaney, who assisted on the goal. “It puts the other team on their heels and lets us control the pace of the game.”
Quote: “Peter, Joseph and I had played a lot together in our freshman year, and we’ve never won until this year. This year we decided to play for it a lot harder. And we’ve managed to get farther.” — Bottum
One thing to know: The Pioneers controlled play from the outset and could have scored more, but had two shots bounce off the goalposts, including a penalty kick by Bottum in the first half, and another hit the crossbar.
St. Paul Como Park 2, Sartell-St. Stephen 1
Recap: Senior forward Seik Seik, a native of Thailand, scored both of his team’s goals as the Cougars held off Sartell-St. Stephen to advance to Thursday’s Class 1A championship game.
With All-Metro forward Will Kidd being marked heavily, Seik picked up the offensive load. He scored a slick goal in the sixth minute, taking a throw-in and weaving through four Sartell defenders before tucking the ball away for a 1-0 lead.
He scored again in the 43rd minute when Kidd bamboozled the Sartell defense with footwork, then slid a short cross in front to a charging Seik, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Sartell, the aggressor for much of the game, got a goal by Kempton Schneider in the 56th minute but could not get the equalizer despite applying continuous pressure.
Quote: “They were a lot more aggressive than we thought. The last five minutes were scary, but we came out pretty good.” — Kidd
One thing to know: Como Park will be playing for the state championship for the first time in team history.