In the end, it only takes one.
Orono (19-0-3) preserved its undefeated record with a 1-0 victory against Visitation (15-3-2) on Monday at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Class 1A semifinals. The Spartans will face Mahtomedi in the championship 12:30 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Forward Anna Hughes capitalized on an assist from midfielder Sadie Koltes in the 15th minute to score the only goal of the match. From there, it was a defensive stand for the rest of the 65 minutes.
Goaltender Clare Gagne kept a clean sheet, making two saves. She had 72 saves and a 92.3 save percentage heading into this game and led the Spartans to conceding just six goals this whole season. The whole team met Gagne in the midfield to celebrate the victory after the final whistle.
"It's really just a team effort to get the clean sheet," Gagne said. "And specifically, the defenders today did a really good job stopping any shots. I don't think I did very much at all. It was really all them."
Visitation center back Grace Beinlich said her team was an underdog all season and was just "excited" and "lucky" to make it to the semifinal.
"It's amazing. We've been wanting this since we were freshman and to finally do it your senior year is just icing on the cake," Beinlich said. "So it's a bummer we didn't win it, pull off a win today, but we've got another one tomorrow and hopefully get that third place."
Mahtomedi 3, North Branch 2: Before Monday's Class 1A semifinal match, Mahtomedi had allowed just five goals all season and none throughout the section and state tournaments.
So conceding the first goal to unseeded North Branch came as a shock to the No. 3 seed.
It actually took until fewer than four minutes left in the match for the Zephyrs (16-3-2) to take their first lead.
North Branch forward Mercedey Harper scored that initial goal in the 25th minute. But with about six minutes left in the half, Mahtomedi's Sonia Meyer shot the ball through traffic for the equalizer.
Kalianna Brahs scored off senior midfielder Keeley Ertl's assist in the 40th minute for the Vikings (16-4-1). Mahtomedi, though, scored two second-half goals to steal the victory: in the 43rd minute from Shultz and a corner kick header late on from Meyer.
"A lot of emotions," Brahs said. "We came in ready and stuff. And the last four minutes, I feel like we just kind of broke down got in our heads a little bit."