Unbeaten. Untied. Undisputed.
The Stillwater boys' soccer team left no doubt Thursday, defeating previously undefeated Wayzata 2-0 in the Class 2A state championship game. Second-half goals from Colman Farrington and Kohei Adams punctuated a special season for No. 1 seed Stillwater (22-0).
With no losses to generate adversity, players stayed focused and hungry by sharing their hopes and dreams for reaching the championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium in a team "Road to the Bank" group text thread. Along the way, they ascended to No. 1 in the state, No. 4 in the nation and took every team's best punch. In the end, they became the first Ponies' team to win a title since the 1995 and 1996 teams.
"It feels awesome," Farrington said. "It's been such a long time. It's awesome to be in the company of legendary teams."
While Stillwater — 14 shutouts this fall — certainly could defend, assaults on opposing goalkeepers became its identity. The Ponies tallied 91 goals this season, an average of four per game. They scored six goals in both their previous state tournament matches.
"We defend by going forward," Ponies coach Jake Smothers said. "With all the possessive players that we have, the skill players up top, we want to put as much pressure on teams as we can. And it worked today."
Wayzata nearly went ahead in the first minute but Stillwater goalkeeper Fred LeClair made a sliding save on Trojans forward Patrick Weah. A scoreless first half ensued, but Smothers drew hope from a near-miss by Adams in the final seconds before halftime.
"I told him at halftime that he was going to get his goal," Smothers said.
Miguel Caravais (26 goals), Kohei Adams (20) and Spencer Scott (14) represented two-thirds of the team's offense. A year ago, none played varsity soccer for Stillwater. But Caravais, a foreign exchange student from Spain, Adams (transfer) and Scott (former football player) folded into the team's mission.
For No. 2 seed Wayzata (18-1-3), perspective helped ease the season's first loss.
"I told the boys afterward, we're sitting here in our 22nd game of the season and our first loss," coach Dominic Duenas said. "So there's nothing to hang their heads about."