Totino-Grace did just about everything right in two regulation halves and two sudden-death overtime periods on Thursday night -- except for one thing: "Score," head coach Matt Thibodeau said. "I think we did everything but score."
It wasn't until a dramatic eight-round shootout after 100 minutes of scoreless play that the Eagles prevailed over Cloquet 5-4 in penalty kicks in the Class 1A state tournament quarterfinals at Roseville High School.
With both teams at 4-4 in the shootout, Totino-Grace had a chance to end it. Grace Steinhauser's first shot attempt was blocked, but officials ordered a re-kick after declaring Cloquet goalkeeper Kenzie Rathe had moved before the shot was taken. Rathe, who was stellar in goal all night, denied Steinhauser a second time to send it to the eighth and final round.
Senior back Nicole Hagen scored the game-winner with a shot in the upper-right corner.
Cloquet's previous three Section 7 playoff games went into overtime, including two in shootouts. The Eagles knew that heading into Thursday's game.
"We work on penalties every day -- we know it can happen," Thibodeau said. "They've won their last two penalty shootouts so we feel fortunate to get through that."
The unranked Lumberjacks registered eight shutouts this season. Totino-Grace, the Section 5 champion, had not been shut out all season while averaging 3.05 goals per game, so it set up an intriguing first-round matchup for the third-seeded Eagles.
The Eagles pressured, created turnovers and spent most of the game with the ball in Cloquet's end, but Rathie and her cast of durable defenders held strong with the help of the crossbar and a post.
Alexandra Miller, Emily Guisinger, Annmarie Umland and Chaselyn Miller converted on the Eagles' first four penalty kicks before Hagen's game-winner. Goalkeeper Gabrielle Eisfelder recorded the shutout.
Totino-Grace will play in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Monday at the Metrodome.
Blake 2, Alexandria 0: Lydia Sutton's 12th and 13th goals of the season led Blake to a 2-0 victory over Alexandria in the first round of Class 1A state tournament at Roseville High School.
The second-seeded Bears showcased speed, crisp passing, flow and air-tight defense all game, but Cardinals junior goalkeeper Sarah Bruzek stole the show early, stonewalling Blake until Sutton scored with 1:14 left in the first half. A perfect lead pass from Natalie Sill set up Sutton. Her second goal came in the 73rd minute.
Goalkeeper Maddy Crawford registered the team's 16th shutout this season.