Class 2A is assured of new champions, but last year’s winners in Class 1A girls and boys are back to defend their titles this week as the soccer state tournaments move to U.S. Bank Stadium.
The semifinals start Monday with girls’ 2A matches in the morning followed by the 1A girls, including defending champion Mahtomedi, and 1A boys, including last year’s winner, Blake. The boys’ 2A semifinals are Tuesday. Championship matches in all four classes are Thursday.
Star Tribune staff writers David La Vaque, Joe Gunther, Heather Rule, Nate Gotlieb and Paul Klauda take a look at the matchups:
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Champlin Park (18-0-1) vs. Maple Grove (16-2-1), 8 a.m. Monday
Champlin Park at a glance: Freshman midfielder Paige Kalal has led the Rebels in scoring. She showed her skill on a nimble game-tying goal in the quarterfinal against Stillwater. Junior midfielder Megan Carlson, a Star Tribune All-Metro first-team selection, sustained what appeared to be a serious injury against the Ponies.
Maple Grove at a glance: The Crimson is making its third consecutive state appearance and has five shutouts in its past six games. Senior Abby Schulte has led the defense and has eight goals. Junior midfielder Emma Fournier has 14 goals and assisted on the game-winning goal in the quarterfinals against Minnetonka.
Centennial (17-2) vs. Rosemount (18-2), 10 a.m. Monday
Centennial at a glance: Speedy Khyah Harper has five goals in the past two games, giving her 25 for the season. She scored both goals in the state quarterfinal, including the game-winner with 23 seconds left in overtime. Senior Olivia Lovick has 12 goals, while sophomore Lauren Ahles has seven goals and 11 assists.
Rosemount at a glance: Junior attacker Kenzie Jacobson, second-team All-Metro, scored early in the quarterfinal as the team earned its eighth shutout. Rosemount lost to Centennial 2-1 in the 2016 Class 2A state championship game, although none of this season’s players were part of that team, according to coach Gretchen Stramel.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Mahtomedi (14-2-2) vs. Blake (13-7), noon Monday
Mahtomedi at a glance: The Zephyrs, in search of a three-peat, haven’t lost a game since Aug. 29 and have not been defeated by a Class 1A opponent this season. First-team all-state selections Lauren Heinsch (attacker), Audrey Sexson (midfielder) and Lauren Lisowy (goalkeeper) give Mahtomedi a standout at every level.
Blake at a glance: Senior attacker Ali Fine, sidelined by injury much of the season, scored two of the Bears’ three first-half goals en route to a 4-1 quarterfinal victory over Waconia. No. 5 seed Blake is 8-2 in its past 10 games and aiming for its first championship game appearance since 2013.
Holy Angels (17-2-1) vs. Orono (17-3-3), 2 p.m. Monday
Holy Angels at a glance: The Stars have 18 returners from last year’s state semifinals team. Junior midfielder Mia Van der Heide has 13 goals, the latest on a 44-yard free kick in the quarterfinals against Cloquet-Carlton. Goalies Rachel Kawiecki and Chloe Johnson have allowed 13 goals in 20 games.
Orono at a glance: Scoring goals on the Spartans is quite the rarity with senior Clare Gagne, a Ms. Soccer finalist, in the net. She’s allowed only five goals all season, and the Spartans have 10 consecutive shutouts. On offense, freshman Nora Chouanard has a knack for scoring some “really big goals,” coach Erin Murray said.
CLASS 1A BOYS
Holy Angels (19-0-1) vs. St. Cloud Tech (15-2-1), 4 p.m. Monday
Holy Angels at a glance: The Stars have Class 1A’s Mr. Soccer in Conor O’Rourke and talent at all four positions. “Our strength is in our numbers,” coach James See said. “We don’t fall off when we go a couple into our bench.” Forward Porter Ball and midfielder Shalim Montes Hernandez have returned from injury.
St. Cloud Tech at a glance: The Tigers, making a second consecutive state appearance, have talented midfielders in Mohamad Zakaria and Ethan Miller, who scored the lone goal in a quarterfinal win over Austin. Other key players include attacker Drake Jett and defender Sam Putz, who assisted on Miller’s game-winner.
Blake (16-4) vs. Orono (17-2-2), 6 p.m. Monday
Blake at a glance: The defending state champions won last year’s title on an improbable 55-yard free kick in overtime. Junior forward Jake Shapiro had a hat trick as the Bears routed St. Francis 6-1 in the quarterfinals. His brother Drew, a sophomore, also had a goal. Second-seeded Blake scored three goals in each half.
Orono at a glance: The Spartans are riding a 17-game unbeaten streak after starting the season 2-2. Senior captain Nick Byrnes scored twice in the state quarterfinal. He’s a defenseman but also knows when to get in on the attack. All-state senior forward Reece Clifford has eight goals and 10 assists this season.
CLASS 2A BOYS
Edina (20-0) vs. Washburn (16-3-1), noon Tuesday
Edina at a glance: The only unbeaten team in Class 2A, the Hornets are poised to join Edina teams that won three consecutive state titles from 1999-2001. Edina defeated Washburn 3-2 to open the season. Two first-team all-state selections at midfield, Casey Ott and Will Swanda, and goalkeeper Hank Stechmann lead the charge.
Minneapolis Washburn at a glance: The Millers needed Class 2A Mr. Soccer winner Darley Florvil’s overtime goal to advance to the semifinals. Florvil had gotten himself in position to score multiple goals and broke through at the biggest moment. He and fellow All-Metro first-team member Jameson Charles pace the offense.
St. Paul Central (19-1) vs. East Ridge (16-2-1), 2 p.m. Tuesday
St. Paul Central at a glance: The Minutemen felt disrespected as an unseeded team after recording a draw in last season’s third-place game. They used that to fuel a dominant quarterfinal victory over second seed Eastview. Riaz Kelly, an all-state honoree last season, scored two goals against the Lightning.
East Ridge at a glance: Senior midfielder Brennan Featherstone, a Star Tribune All-Metro first-team selection, scored the game-winning goal in the quarterfinal against Lakeville South. He and Reese Dodd led a defense that stifled the Panthers offense. The Raptors ended the regular season with seven consecutive shutouts.