Senior Kai France had the ball with a one-goal lead and a minute to play as he and two of his Anoka-Hennepin teammates were alone facing the opposing goalie in the adapted soccer physically impaired (PI) division championship. France said he had no doubt he was going to shoot.
He scored with about 48 seconds left, securing a 3-1 victory.
"That was pretty cool," France said. "I didn't expect to make it, but it did."
Anoka-Hennepin capped a perfect season with the victory Saturday at Stillwater High School. In a rematch of last year's title game, the Mustangs (12-0-0) defeated Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka to emerge as champions for the second consecutive year.
It was the fourth time this season the Mustangs had defeated the Robins (8-4-0).
"It always gets into my kids' heads when we play Robbinsdale," Mustangs coach Sue Opat said. "So for us just to come out and be real competitive with all the experience that our seniors brought to the floor, that was, I think, the difference."
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead early in the first half with goals from junior Tyler Ezell and sophomore Stevey France, Kai's sister. Stevey had the first goal with an assist from Ezell, then assisted on Ezell's goal.
"Beating the Robins, it was tough, but once we got our trophy… OK, see? We did so much better than last year," Stevey said. "We all improved."
Sophomore forward Izear Joiner scored and sophomore goalie Vincent Luu made 16 saves for the Robins.
The Mustangs have won three titles since 2007. Before last season, the Robins had won seven consecutive titles in the PI division.
Park Center repeats, tops North Suburban
In the cognitively impaired division, Park Center (15-0-0) defeated North Suburban 9-5 in a rematch of the 2015 CI championship.
"I lost three of my best players from last year and thought, 'This is going to be a rebuilding year,' " Park Center Coach Kelli Waalk said. "Never expected to be in the championship game, let alone win it."
The key to the game was playing hard and passing the ball a lot, Waalk said.
Sophomore Phillip Worzie scored five goals and freshman Alfred Konneh scored the other four for the Pirates. Their team applied offensive pressure throughout the game, putting 36 shots on net.
"To be a state champion, it feels good," Worzie said. "It feels great."
Worzie was a playmaker all over the gym, bringing a powerful shot.
"Mechanically, it's probably one of the best shots I've ever seen in 22 years of coaching," Waalk said.
For North Suburban (11-2-0), senior Anthony Bengtson scored a hat trick and junior Austin Motzko scored the other two goals as the Cougars tried throughout the game to close the gap. Cougars senior Jonathan Caliendo made 27 saves in goal.