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Top girls' games: Maple Grove seeks key victory over Minneapolis Washburn

09/11/2017, 1:30pm CDT
By Nick Gerhardt, SportsEngine

Sept. 16: The undefeated Crimson take on the unbeaten Millers looking for a confidence-boosting win.


Maple Grove's Meredith Haakenson, a Michigan commit, will face off with Minneapolis Washburn's Lydia Ruppert, a Minnesota recruit, in a Class 2A clash on Saturday. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

Class 2A, Section 5 has been dominated by Centennial since 2009, with the defending state champion owning six of the eight titles -- including the last three. However, after two consecutive section championship losses to the Cougars, Maple Grove hopes to have turned the page.

The Crimson haven't broken through to the state tournament, but early on, it looks like this might be the year they do so. Maple Grove faces an test this week at Minneapolis Washburn, a game that could be a good indicator of the team's future success.

The Crimson, who also play Centennial on Tuesday, have gone 24-11-3 in the past two years, and they're off to a 6-0 start without surrendering a goal in competition. Much of that success is thanks to Meredith Haakenson, a Michigan recruit who has been named to the first-team Class 2A all-state squad every season since her freshman year. Haakenson, now a senior, has one more shot at leading the Crimson (6-0, 4-0), ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A coaches' poll from a week ago, to a historic season.

State tournament berths are no easy feat. Just ask Minneapolis Washburn, which plays in Class 2A, Section 6 after moving up a class two years ago. In last season's section final, the Millers upset Wayzata, which ended the regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in the Class 2A coaches' poll from Sept. 4, to reach state for the second time since 1992. The Millers were the Class 1A runners-up in 2014 and finished fourth a year ago.

Minneapolis Washburn finished with just one loss in the regular season last season, and the No. 2-2A Millers (5-0, 1-0) are off to a similar start this year, passing every test to date. 

This meeting of state powers makes it our pick for the Top Game of the Week.

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