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Early goal holds up as Totino-Grace tops St. Thomas Academy for 1A title

11/02/2017, 11:45am CDT
By MEGAN RYAN, Star Tribune

The Eagles unseated the defending champion Cadets on a goal by sophomore forward Steevenson Lamarre, with an assist from senior midfielder Collin Matzoll.


Totino-Grace team members celebrated their 1-0 victory over St. Thomas Academy to win the Class 1A boys' soccer championship Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo: JERRY HOLT • jerry.holt@startribune.com

Steevenson Lamarre missed a significant chunk of Totino-Grace’s season after a broken wrist in the summer and then an ankle injury in a Sept. 9 game.

But when it mattered most, the sophomore forward was there for his team.
Lamarre’s first-half goal stood up as Totino-Grace unseated defending champion St. Thomas Academy 1-0 to win the Class 1A state title Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

It was the program’s third championship overall after victories in 2002 and 2004.

The No. 1 Eagles (19-1-1) scored early and managed to preserve the clean sheet through the final whistle in their first trip back to the final since 2008. No. 2 St. Thomas Academy (16-2-3) added a second place to its three-year medal haul, as the Cadets were also third in 2015.

“Although it’s been really good, and we won our conference, and we won our section and all those things, it’s disappointing to get beat in the final,” said Cadets coach Noel Quinn, who has been to the past four state championships. “We didn’t come to lose, or we didn’t come to play for second. We wanted to win again. So yeah, it’s a great season, but that doesn’t really mean anything.”

Lamarre said he had discussed the goal-scoring play with senior defender Matthew Hagen and senior midfielder Collin Matzoll and practiced it Wednesday. Hagen threw the ball in, Matzoll flicked it back, and Lamarre headed it home in the eighth minute.

Eagles coach Bill Vance said while he knew this match would be tight, he didn’t expect his team to come out with a shutout. The result “wasn’t pretty,” he said, but it was “exciting,” especially considering coming into this season, he knew his team had a special group of talent and leaders, but the defense was the question mark.

That’s certainly been answered now.

Junior goalkeeper Philip Ronza made three of his team’s four saves, while his “shot stoppers,” as senior defender Jack Vettel called the back line, held firm on the other.

“I was just in awe, just kind of taking it in,” Vettel said of the victory. “Winning a state championship in a one-point-whatever billion-dollar stadium, just having this moment to be here, to just be with my brothers. … We just love each other. That’s just what comes out of it.”

First report

Totino-Grace unseated the defending champion Thursday to win the Class 1A state title Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Eagles (19-1-1) scored early and managed to preserve a 1-0 lead through the final whistle in their first trip back to the final since 2008, when they finished runner-up.

St. Thomas Academy (16-2-3) added a second place to its three-year medal haul, as the Cadets were also third in 2015.

Two all-tournament selections combined for the only goal of the match. Sophomore forward Steevenson Lamarre netted the score in the eighth minute off senior midfielder Collin Matzoll’s assist. The low-scoring match was quite the change from Totino-Grace’s dramatic 3-2 overtime victory in the semifinal that also saw a red card ejection.

Check back later for more on the game

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