When Lakeville North's Anna Steel lined up for a free kick on the 25-yard line with about five minutes to play against Andover, Panthers coach Jeremiah Johnson did not expect the shot to go in.
"I'm sure if somebody captured a still photo of that, my mouth will be wide open," Johnson said with a laugh.
Steel, with the ball set and her teammates bunched far left ready to attack, launched a shot that cut through wind and found the back of the Huskies' net. Her long goal gave the unseeded Panthers a 1-0 victory over third-ranked Andover in the Class 2A girls' soccer state quarterfinal at Chisago Lakes High School.
"I walked up to it and had a good feeling," Steel said. "I knew I was going to put it on target so I told all my teammates to crash the net … When I hit it I knew it was going to go in."
Her teammates did crash the net, only to turn around to find Steel and celebrate her game-winning blast.
Andover seemed destined to take the Panthers, a perennial power, to extra time as both teams spent the majority of play at midfield.
The Huskies (15-2-2) know what it takes for an unseeded team to make a state tournament run, having done it last year when they took third place. This season Andover led the North Suburban Conference in goals with 60 and was the No. 2 seed in the tournament. It was shut out Thursday for the first time since its season opener.
For Lakeville North (10-5-4), Johnson said it was nice to come into the tournament unseeded for once.
"Our program has been here seven times in a row and we have been the number one seed a few times," he said. "There is so much pressure there."
Maple Grove 3, East Ridge 0: Since being named Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, Meredith Haakenson said she has not felt any added pressure. Her teammates made sure the pressure stayed off their star senior by picking up the scoring load.
Goals by Lexi Miller, Mia Omar and Lauren Bredensteiner in the victory exemplifies why the award she received is a team honor, Haakenson said.
"It is just a title," Haakenson said of the award. "It does not really faze me. We all just came to play because we love this."
Bredensteiner's goal gave the Crimson a 1-0 lead in the first half.
In the second half, Haakenson had possession, pushed into East Ridge's zone and passed the ball to Omar, who drew a penalty inside the box.
Omar made her free kick and squelched any chance of an East Ridge comeback.
East Ridge (12-7) nearly found its equalizer in the first half, but Crimson goalie Sarah Cortez turned a dangerous shot away.
"We showed the depth we have throughout our team," Haakenson said. "A lot of players got on the board and just stepped up."
Eagan 2, Edina 1 (OT): A free kick goal by Grace Sjoberg gave the Wildcats (15-2-2) the victory two minutes into overtime over the No. 6-rated Hornets (13-2-5).
Edina freshman forward Haley Reeck scored the game's first goal in the first half before Eagan's Karlie Vrieze tied it with 13 minutes left in the second half.
Wayzata 3, St. Michael-Albertville 0: Sophomore forward Samantha Dietrick had a hat trick, leading the No. 2-ranked Trojans (16-0-3) past the Knights (15-4-1) at St. Cloud State. Dietrick opened the scoring with a shot from 25 yards out that caught the bottom of the crossbar and caromed into the net in the 32nd minute. She added her final two goals in the second half, 15 minutes apart. Junior forward Lily Gilbertson assisted on the first two goals. Wayzata outshot St. Michael-Albertville 18-2.
Staff writer Ron Haggstrom contributed to this report.