A year ago, Rosemount's Jadyn Scholler was homebound and not playing soccer, a torn ACL in her knee the culprit. In fact, she wasn't even sure she'd play soccer again.
"I just kind of shut down," the sophomore forward said. "I never thought that after I tore my ACL, I'd be a better player than I was before."
But she is and she showed it by scoring the game-winning goal with less than 10 minutes left to lift Rosemount to a 2-1 semifinals victory over Minneapolis Washburn on Tuesday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"Yes, she is," Irish coach Gretchen Stramel chimed in when Scholler was asked if she's used to scoring big goals. "She actually had the game-winning goal against Eagan in our section championship win to come to state. She's used to it."
The Irish (17-1-2) fell into what has become a pattern in recent weeks, taking a 1-0 lead on Megan Dahl's goal in the sixth minute before Washburn (17-2-1) tied the score just under 11 minutes into the second half on a sweet redirect by Lizzie Mewes.
"The past three games prior to this, we've gone into the last three minutes tied," Stramel said. "So we have a little bit of experience when it comes to coming back and getting that big goal at the end of the game."
And Scholler has kept playing since mid-September despite a broken wrist. She said her decision to overcome that setback has paid dividends.
"I'm glad I got to play high school again this year," she said. "It's been one of the best experiences of my life.
Centennial 2, Andover 1: Maybe Centennial coach Ginger Flohaug has found a new strategy.
After a regular season in which the Cougars rarely trailed, they found themselves behind 1-0 at halftime against Andover, their third consecutive game in which they'd fallen behind early.
No worries. The Cougars rallied again, scoring two goals in the second half to defeat their Northwest Suburban rival and advance to the championship game for the first time in team history. Ashley Ebeling got the game-winner for Centennial (17-0-3) in the 69th minute.
"We trailed in both our section final against Maple Grove and our first state tournament game, so we tried to draw from that experience," Flohaug said.
Andover (16-3-1) had taken the lead 1-0 on Megan Vatne's solo effort in the 22nd minute. "They were outworking us, and we're not a team that gets outworked," Flohaug said.
Ebeling said her team was confident but acknowledged a slight case of nerves before the second half. "We knew there were 40 minutes left to play and we had come back before, but there was a little stress," she said.
The Cougars came out in the second half with renewed energy. They got the equalizer from McKenna Gieske, who took a pass from Meghan Wilson and nailed a sinking liner from 20 yards to tie the score 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
"That destressed us," said Ebeling, who got the go-ahead goal eight minutes later — her fourth goal of the season against Andover.
"She doesn't walk that side of town now," Flohaug said with a laugh.