Mahtomedi senior Sydney Panek battles Bemidji's Makayla Firminger late in the second half of Wednesday's Class 1A State Quarterfinal at Prior Lake. Panek scored the Zephyr's first goal in their 3-0 win over the Lumberjacks. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEng
Bemidji goalkeeper Abigail Kieson anticipates a Mahtomedi shot in the Girl's Class 1A, State Quarterfinal at Prior Lake High School. Kieson was busy during the first half facing constant attack from the Zephyrs offense. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Bemidji junior goalkeeper Ali Beard made big saves throughout the Class 1A soccer quarterfinal game, but Mahtomedi’s pressure eventually proved too much en route to 3-0 victory Wednesday in Prior Lake.
Zephyrs midfielder Sydney Panek buried a 20-yard shot with 29.1 seconds left in the opening half to give No. 3 seed Mahtomedi (15-3-2) a 1-0 lead.
“I had just had so much adrenaline built up,” said Panek, a sophomore, of what she called her longest shot of the year. “As I watched it go in, I was like ‘that was surreal.’”
Mahtomedi had other scoring chances in the half, but the Lumberjacks’ back four defenders broke up plays and cleared the ball often. Beard, who had 14 saves, credited her back line of Jacie Lalli, Katie Alto, Sydney Butler and Jenna Jones for her success.
“I’m so lucky to have the backline that I do,” Beard said. “They’re just great defenders all around.”
The Zephyrs continued to control possession in the second half. After a couple close misses, they extended the lead to 2-0 when sophomore Audrey Sexson found senior forward Abby Shultz for a goal.
Sexon later set up a game’s final goal on a corner kick to junior forward Sonia Meyer, who headed it in.
“I try to find back post,” said Meyer, who considers heading her strength. “Usually they all crash or defend the middle.”
Unseeded Bemidji (14-6) ended its season with its second state tournament appearance in program history.
Bemidji junior goalkeeper Ali Beard made big saves throughout, but Mahtomedi found a way to eventually score in 3-0 quarterfinal victory Wednesday at Prior Lake.
Sophomore midfielder Sydney Panek opened the scoring for No 3. seed Mahtomedi (15-3-2) with a 20-yard shot with 29.1 seconds left in the first half. After a couple close misses in the second half, the Zephyrs expanded the lead with goals by forwards Sonia Meyer, a junior, and Abby Shultz, a senior.
Unseeded Bemidji (14-6) was making its second state tournament appearance in program history.
Check back later for more on the game.