Blake 2, Totino-Grace 0
Recap: Blake has a reputation as a strong second-half team, but players don’t consider it a compliment. Seeking to prove they can start fast, the Bears scored twice in the first half and held Totino-Grace scoreless in Monday’s first Class 1A girls’ soccer semifinal at the Metrodome.
“We showed that we are a full-game team,” said Bears senior Lydia Sutton, a member of the Star Tribune All-Metro first team.
Goals from Sutton (second minute) and Lauren Kelly (30th) sent the Bears to the title game for the fourth time in five seasons. They won the title in 2011 and were runner-up last year.
Quote: “One of the sayings we have right when we exit the locker room is, ‘Work hard, have fun, kick butt.’ That’s something we really strive to do.” — Sutton
One thing to know: Blake’s state championship game against Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Thursday will be the third consecutive title-game meeting for the metro-area private schools. Blake won 1-0 in 2011 and the Red Knights got revenge with a 3-2 overtime victory last year.
DAVID La VAQUE
Benilde-St. Margaret’s 5, Mankato West 1
Recap: Defending champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s scored twice in the first half en route to a victory against Mankato West and a berth in the final.
Aleksa Tataryn and Emma Van der Heide each found the back of the net for the Red Knights in the first half. Tataryn’s goal came in the fifth minute.
“Anytime you get the first goal early, it’s huge and it gives you more confidence,” Red Knights senior Kelly Pannek said.
Pannek, named Ms. Soccer by the state coaches association last week, maintained the pressure by scoring the first of three Red Knights goals in the second half. Katie Oppenheimer and Jordan Maddaus also scored.
Five goals was more than enough as the Benilde-St. Margaret’s defense clamped down. The Red Knights have given up only two goals in the past eight games and recorded six shutouts.