The screams were ear- piercing.

Not from the rows upon rows of Blake fans who showed up to the Metrodome to watch the Bears play in their third Class 1A girls' soccer championship game in five years.

Not from the players after the final whistle blew to end their 1-0 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret's.

No, perhaps the loudest shriek came a good 20 minutes after the game ended, when Blake coach Paul Menge broke the team huddle behind the bench.

"It's going to be one heck of a banquet," he said.

The roars of approval were the icing on top of a sweet season that featured only one loss -- by a goal to Class 2A top seed Lakeville North on Sept. 10.

Thursday's game was the Bears' 15th shutout of the season -- they did not allow a goal in the state tournament -- and their first state title since 2000. Blake (21-1) lost in the final to Totino-Grace in a shootout in 2007 and to Orono in 2009.

"We played solid defense all year, and [Benilde-St. Margaret's] had, too," Menge said. "That said, I wasn't sure one goal was going to hold up, to be honest. But the girls were motivated. We've played some strong competition all year, and that really prepared us."

Blake and BSM (18-1-3) appeared headed to a 0-0 tie at halftime when Grace Boatman took a crossing pass along the penalty-kick line from Hannah Randolph and scooted it by keeper Mikayla Coulombe with 21 seconds left in the first half.

Each team took four shots over the final 40 minutes but could not connect.

"The whole year, we never underestimated a team," Boatman said. "And it paid off."

BRIAN STENSAAS