White Bear Lake's Jordyn Foley (12) showed her disappointment as Wayzata players celebrated their second goal of the game late in the second half. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE
Wayzata's Kiana Nickel (21) and White Bear Lake's Madison Scheer (6) fought for control of the ball. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE * firstname.lastname@example.org
White Bear Lake goalie Tarah Hobbs stopped a Wayzata goal shot in the first half. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE * email@example.com
As her teammates converged into a screaming huddle in the middle of Mall of America Field on Thursday, Kylie Schwarz watched from afar.
The Wayzata senior enjoyed the immediate moments after the Trojans won the Class 2A girls’ soccer state championship with a 2-0 victory over White Bear Lake — alone.
A smirk came across the three-time state champion’s face as she watched the group celebrate before slowly walking in their direction.
“I wanted to step back and take in the moment on the field,” Schwarz said. “I wanted to see everyone coming together. It defined what our season was all about.”
The Trojans’ fourth consecutive trip to the state final produced all the normal nervous feelings for Schwarz and her teammates, but there was one difference. Schwarz had never felt more confident about the outcome. Making sure it would turn out the way she had envisioned it, the all-state midfielder scored the game’s first goal in the 39th minute just before halftime. Fellow all-state honorable mention Katie Schulz’s long assist from midfield bounced over the White Bear Lake defenders, leaving Schwarz one-on-one with the goalkeeper to finish the play.
Her goal would be the game’s only offense through almost 79 minutes in a defensive struggle. There were only six shots on goal, just one by White Bear Lake, which kept the game within reach for the Bears. Until the final 70 seconds, that is, when Wayzata reserve Ruby Stauber put the game away with a header, assisted by Olivia Musser.
“We kept it tight in the back,” Trojans goalkeeper Mara Dougherty said. “There were barely any shots I could save.”
The seventh state title under coach Tony Peszneker held extra significance. Despite the numerous championship berths, this was the first time the Trojans won back-to-back titles.
“It is extra special,” Peszneker said. “We’ve been very fortunate to play in so many championships, but these girls have stepped to the front of the pack because they were able to do something no one else [in Wayzata girls’ soccer history] has.”