Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Kallio (8) sends the ball on a pass late in the first half. Kallio scored at the 50 minute mark securing a win for Andover in a 3-2 victory over Centennial at Andover High School. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Two hours before Andover’s game against defending Class 2A champion Centennial, the Huskies’ scoreboard read 2-1; the score the Cougars had to beat Andover in the state semifinals en route to the program’s first title.
Thoughts of the loss have loomed among Andover’s players, but none seemed to acknowledge the scoreboard and instead were focused at the task at hand -- beating Centennial.
“The girls that went to state last year felt it,” said coach Tracey Griess. “They wanted to come back and get revenge.”
The Huskies’ motivation all offseason came to fruition in a 3-2 win over the Cougars Thursday night at home, ending a five-year losing streak to the Centennial in a game that featured 15 starters on both sides of the field who played in last year’s state tournament.
“This was right up there with winning sections, going to state, beating Centennial,” Griess said. They’re always tough competition. The girls knew and didn’t need it hammered into them.”
Ranked fourth in the latest Class 2A coaches' poll, the Huskies (4-1-1, 3-0-1) may resemble last year’s team, but their scheme has changed with added depth this season.
Sophomore Corynn Grabau tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) a year ago at the Olympic Development Program in June, but Grabau remained involved with the team as a manager.
“It was kinda hard to just watch,” Grabau said. “But it was still fun being with the team and making it to state.”
Grabau is outside the starting lineup that features 2016 All-State recipients Erin Becker and Rebecka Musungu, but remains a regular on the field, subbing in as Andover now plays two forwards at the top of their offense.
She made her presence felt in the first half as she chased down a wide cross, turned her hips and rocketed a shot to the top-left corner of the net from 15 yards out.
“[Grabau’s] a super powerful shooter that’s one of the things I love about her,” Griess said. “She’s added a lot of depth to that front line that already is so strong.”
Fellow sophomore Kelsey Kallio, who scored the game’s winning goal off an assist from Olivia Knoepfle, led the Huskies with 14 assists last fall and has enjoyed the emergence of her classmates on the varsity field.
“It’s nice not knowing I’m the only underclassman,” Kallio said. “[Grabau’s] got to see where we struggled last year and how she could help us improve on this season.”
After upsetting East Ridge, which was the top-seeded team in the Class 2A state tournament last year, Grabau said the Huskies are aiming to return and improve upon their third-place finish following their win over the No. 6 Cougars (4-1-1, 3-1-0).
“Most of our motivation was to beat Centennial,” Graubau said. “But I think we just really want to get to state and get the place we deserve.”
Alexis Larson (28) steals possession from freshman defenseman Brisha Musungu (22). Larson scored the first of Centennial's two goals in their 3-2 loss on Thursday night. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Sophomore Kelsey Kallio’s goal in the 50th minute proved to be the game-winner as the Huskies dealt Northwest Suburban Conference rival Centennial its first loss of the season in a 3-2 decision Thursday evening at Andover High School.
Ranked fourth in the latest coaches’ poll, the Huskies’ win avenged a 2-1 loss to the defending Class 2A champion Cougars (4-1-1, 3-1-0) in the state semifinals last year.
Erin Becker broke the game open at the five-minute mark, scoring past Lauren Sicora to give Andover (4-1-1, 3-0-1) a lead it never relinquished. Centennial’s Alexis Larson leveled the score seven minutes later off a point-blank shot.
Corynn Grabau found the net late in the first to give the Huskies the lead entering halftime. Kallio pushed Andover ahead 3-1 nearly 11 minutes into the final half before the Cougars’ Amanda Ahles scored off a penalty kick a minute later.
Sicora finished the game with six saves, while Andover’s Natalie Rudrud stopped three shots for the win.
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Claire Orth (10) collides with Huskie goalkeeper Natalie Rudrud in a Northwest Suburban conference matchup on Thursday night. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine