Stillwater soccer player Spencer Scott has the hang of this clutch performer thing.
Scott, a senior forward, scored the game-winning goal just 52 seconds into overtime as the Ponies edged No. 1 seed and previously undefeated Duluth East 2-1 for the Class 2A championship Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"After it happened I just kind of ran around," said Scott, who also scored the winning goal in the semifinals. "It felt right."
No. 2 seed Stillwater (19-1-2) captured its second Class 2A state championship in three seasons, spoiling the Greyhounds' bid to become the first non-metro Minnesota school to win a single-class or 2A soccer title.
Duluth East (19-1-2) saw an apparent early goal negated by an offside call. Instead, Stillwater went ahead 1-0 in the 13th minute on a Logan Huber header off Scott's long throw-in.
Taking the lead wasn't completely to Stillwater's benefit. Huber said he felt it made his team too relaxed, too defensive.
Duluth East, meanwhile, surged after halftime. The Greyhounds' reward came via the tying goal in the 69th minute. Sean Brueninghaus shook loose of his defender and sent a cross for Michael Reichhoff to head into the net.
"We dominated the whole second half," Greyhounds senior forward Will Francis said. "We had all the momentum. We knew they were big on set pieces and that's where they dominated us."
Both Stillwater goals were headers off set pieces. On Scott's winner, Nick Purdie dropped a corner kick into the scrum of bodies in front of the goal. Gora Gora jumped but didn't make contact. Scott did, redirecting a ball that slipped between the Greyhounds' goalkeeper and a defender positioned on the goal line.
Stillwater coach Jake Smothers hailed Purdie, a junior midfielder, as "our tournament MVP" for consistently solid play in all three games.
Duluth East, the first non-Twin Cities area school to earn the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A boys' field since seeding began in 2005, proved its merit by going to overtime in the title game.
"I thought my team showed great heart," Greyhounds coach Corey Bachand said. "We had a great season and I can't thank the boys enough."
Duluth East had hoped to avenge last season's semifinal shellacking by Stillwater.
"We thought about it every day," Francis said. "The perfect game would have been us taking on Stillwater in the final and beating them 5-1 like they did to us. Unfortunately, it didn't happen."
Stillwater won its 10th consecutive game and earned a measure of redemption after falling in the title game last year against Wayzata.
"I really do wish it would have been Wayzata again," said Huber, a Mr. Soccer finalist. "But I can take Duluth East. We wanted to bring it back home and show everyone who's boss again."