Respect among the state’s coaches is such that Hill-Murray has climbed past perennial Class 1A state title contender Mahtomedi, claiming the top spot in the coaches' poll.
The No. 1-1A Pioneers have proven they belong at the top, beating Class 2A's North St. Paul (11-0 on Sept. 5) and Blaine (2-0 on Sept. 7).
Now another big-school test awaits in Cretin-Derham Hall (3-1-0, 0-1-0), which reeled off three straight shutout victories to start the season before stumbling in a 2-1 loss to White Bear Lake last Thursday.
Attacker Paige Peltier, an all-state pick last season, has been on a tear for the Raiders, registering nine goals.