Lakeville North sticks to a system. It's that system, coach Bulut Oztuk said, that helped the Panthers to a South Suburban title and the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A.
And if Lakeville North is going to win its first state soccer championship, it'll be that system that helps do it.
"We know that when we stick to it, it's going to work," Oztuk said. "We just have to stick with it."
And that's what top-seeded Lakeville North did Wednesday night at Hopkins High School in its Class 2A quarterfinal matchup with Eden Prairie.
The Panthers withstood a barrage of Eden Prairie scoring opportunities early in the second half, got a timely goal from senior Gelsomina Cavalli-Singer and pulled away for a 2-0 victory.
"At times we were playing a little too fast and just weren't comfortable, but we were able to settle it down and get back to our game," Oztuk said. "It's a playoff game, and there's a lot of nerves and some bad weather. You need to get the job done, and we did."
Senior forward Simone Kolander, the 2011 Metro Player of the Year, had the lone goal of the first half, converting a header with less than 15 minutes before halftime.
Kolander then instigated Lakeville North's second tally, curving a clearing pass from inside the Panthers zone that eventually found Cavalli-Singer at the top of the box. The senior forward buried the shot.
"That goal was huge. It was what we needed," Kolander. "We were going against the wind and the rain was really coming down. They kept pressing us, but we just stuck to our game."
Now Lakeville North (17-1-2) can dry off and get ready for what's been its focus all season: a state title.
"We were the No. 1 seed last year, and we fell short," Oztuk said. "It's added pressure, but this is what we've been looking forward to."
White Bear Lake 1, Eastview 0: In-close taps, blasts from outside, even a second-half breakaway -- no matter what Eastview threw at the White Bear Lake net, standout keeper Tarah Hobbs turned it away.
Hobbs made nine saves and Rachel DeGardner scored with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the game, helping White Bear Lake to a victory over Eastview at Hopkins.
"That's the kind of game I like," said Hobbs, a Gophers recruit. "I like to have the action down in our end and have a chance to help our team."
Eastview controlled possession nearly the entire game, rarely giving White Bear an opportunity to set up in its offense.
But a foul just under the 4-minute mark gave White Bear Lake a free kick from just outside the box. After the defense blocked the initial shot, DeGardner buried the rebound.
White Bear Lake (17-1-2) will face Lakeville North on Tuesday at the Metrodome.
Wayzata 6, St. Michael-Albertville 0: The Trojans (15-2-2) scored four first-half goals and never were threatened by the Knights in St. Cloud. Summer Johnson, Katie Schulz and Kylie Schwarz each scored two goals for Wayzata.
Blaine 2, Centennial 0: Britney Monteon and Taylor Greathouse scored as the Bengals (15-4-1) shut out the Cougars.