Score on Ms. Soccer. Stop Ms. Soccer. Score on Ms. Soccer.
For Minnetonka, the shootout against defending champion Eagan and star goalkeeper Megan Plaschko on Tuesday at U.S. Bank Stadium could not have started better.
The Skippers won the shootout 4-3 to advance to the Class 2A girls' soccer championship game at 3 p.m. Friday. The teams played to a scoreless tie through regulation and a 20-minute overtime.
No. 5 seed Minnetonka (15-4-1) opened the shootout with Riley Brackin scoring on Plaschko. Then Plaschko, who also scored four goals this season, took Eagan's first attempt and was stymied.
When Minnetonka's Lissa Mizutani scored next, she gave the Skippers a 2-0 lead and a psychological edge.
"As soon as I saved the first one and it was [Plaschko's], I knew she was going to be somewhat off her game," Minnetonka goalie Paige Kahlmeyer said. "Shootouts can really get in your head."
Sophomore Olivia Muehlberg felt the pressure build but didn't falter in round seven.
"I just walked up and thought, 'I got this,' " said Muehlberg, who previously recorded one shot and zero goals this season.
Muehlberg walked into the situation fresh. Plaschko, brilliant all season for previously unbeaten and No. 1 Eagan (17-1-3), felt the weight.
"As the game goes on and it's the fifth, sixth, seventh shooter, and you know that if you don't make a save, that could be it — that's when it really starts to get to you," Plaschko said.
Muehlberg's goal and a subsequent Eagan miss clinched the upset.
Wayzata 2, Stillwater 1 (SO): Once Wayzata coach Tony Peszneker selects his varsity girls' soccer team each season, he begins charting a select group to handle penalty shots.
The Trojans' special teamers justified the season-long search. They bested Stillwater 7-6 in an overtime shootout to win the game and advance to face Minnetonka in the Class 2A championship game at 3 p.m. Friday.
No. 2 seed Wayzata (17-3) went second in the shootout and converted four consecutive times in rounds five through eight to avoid elimination. Then goalkeeper Madison Lo stopped Stillwater in the ninth round and teammate Elizabeth Page followed with the clinching goal.
"When I saw Elizabeth ready in line to kick, I knew she's a really consistent kicker so I felt pretty good," Lo said.
Page and the Trojans saw the first semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium go to a shootout and readied for a similar outcome.
"We didn't want to try to get to it, but since we were so prepared, once we got there, we all knew we just needed to do what we could to pull out the win," Page said.
Using analytics that a baseball fan could appreciate, Peszneker charts players on 50 penalty kicks taken in practice throughout the season. He identifies the steadiest performers and allows them to set the lineup order.
Both regulation goals came on penalty kicks. Wayzata senior Megan Malecha made it 1-0 late in the first half and senior Abby Begin of No. 3 seed Stillwater (15-2-4) tied the score in the second half.