Time ticked away in overtime of the Class 1A boys' soccer tournament championship game. Gut-wrenching penalty kicks would likely decide the outcome. Holy Angels sophomore Noah Hermanson wanted out.
Hermanson turned to the Stars' bench with 1 minute and 13 seconds left in the game Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium. He told coach James See to sub him out, thereby making him ineligible to participate in penalty kicks.
See corrected him. Even players on the bench could be called upon. But forget all that, the coach said. Just believe.
Hermanson ultimately made the conversation moot. His left-foot shot twisted and turned through the air and into the back of the Blake net for a 3-2 victory with 10 seconds left.
"I was trying to put it far side, but it deflected and kind of chipped up more," said Hermanson, who was set up by a pass from sophomore Shalim Montes Hernandez. "At first, I saw it go [right] and I thought, 'Oh shoot, I missed the net.' Then it just kept spinning back in."
The Stars (21-0-1) edged defending champion Blake (17-5) and completed an undefeated season. The program earned its first state title after placing second in 2000 and 2001.
Holy Angels blanked Blake 2-0 earlier this season and led by the same score in the second half Thursday. Porter Ball scored in the first half and Conor O'Rourke early in the second half.
Blake showed a champion's resolve, however, and sent the game to overtime.
First, midfielder Keegan James buried a penalty shot and the Bears trailed 2-1 in the 72nd minute. Then came the tying goal. A Benji Pomonis steal and pass, a header by Howard Henderson and a slick Jackson Lagos finish ignited belief within the Bears.
"We all gathered together and we said, 'Hey, this is the time, right now,' " Henderson said. "We had the momentum, but we weren't able to find the back of the net."
Hermanson did and the Stars triumphed.
"We kept pushing on," See said, "and believed something would happen."