The slow start felt unusual to the Class 1A soccer tournament's top seed. No goals heading into the final minute of the first half was out of character and beginning to frustrate St. Paul Academy.
"I think we were playing down to their level," senior attack Lorenzo Pavoloni said. "I thought we came out not as strong as we need to be."
Beginning to feel the pressure of a scoreless game, sophomore Issac Forsgren finally found a hole in Waconia's defense. With 30 second left in the opening half he scored the game's first goal and provided the Spartans with the comfort they required to complete a 2-1 victory over Section 6 champion Waconia on Thursday in the Class A boys' soccer state tournament quarterfinals at Hopkins High School.
The turnaround happened so fast that, Forsgren couldn't recall what leg he used to score the game's first goal.
"I've received a lot of different takes on the goal," he said after the win. "I can't remember at all. It was really fast."
He settled on his right foot until another one of teammates corrected him yet again. All the sophomore forward cared to remember was the ball hitting the top left corner of the net.
Receiving the pass from Peter Wood, Forsgren flipped it up and volleyed it to his left leg, leaving just enough room between him and his defender to make the shot.
"When I scored, a lot was lifted off my shoulders 'cause I thought we'd have at least two [goals] in the first half," Forsgren said. "I knew it would come eventually."
The 1-0 advantage changed the Spartans' halftime discussion and their approach to the second half.
"That put us in control," said Pavoloni, who added an insurance goal early in the second half, assisted again by Wood. "Because of that, though, we kind of took the foot off the accelerator and let them come back in the game."
Waconia's Jack Dirnberger scored 71:17 into the game, before SPA finished off what Forsgren called a scrappy finish.
St. Cloud Cathedral 2, St. Paul Como Park 1: Charlie Schuweiler's goal in the 70th minute held up over the final 10 minutes as the unbeaten Crusaders advanced with the 2-1 victory.
St. Cloud grabbed the early advantage in the final minutes of the first half when Austin Mareck scored the game's first goal. Como Park senior Simer Sho evened the score 1-1 four minutes into the new half.