Two teams went into the Tuesday night’s tilt with unbeaten records, but it is St. Louis Park that’s had a chip on its shoulder this season.
The Orioles lost consecutive Class 2A, Section 6 championship matches in overtime to Wayzata, in 2017 and 2018, which has left a mark on the team.
Those defeats have fueled St. Louis Park’s roster with the motivation needed to push to the next level. So far, that effort has helped extend the Orioles’ winning streak to seven games after knocking off Metro West Conference and Section 6 foe Bloomington Kennedy 2-1 on Tuesday night in Bloomington.
Orioles midfielder Nicholas Riley, who is in his fifth season with the varsity, has become a team leader. The senior captain’s mindset has helped build chemistry among the team, which has helped keep the squad focused on its main goal this year: winning the section tourney to earn a Class 2A state tournament berth.
“We all stay humble and we're always hungry,” Riley said. “We’re really close with each other so we can hold each other accountable.”
St. Louis Park scored two first-half goals and hung on late to preserve a 2-1 win against Bloomington Kennedy on Tuesday night in Bloomington, extending the Orioles’ winning streak to seven games.
Bennett Kouame got the Orioles, ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, rolling by drawing a penalty 13 minutes into the match. Nicholas Riley converted the spot kick to give St. Louis Park (7-0-0, 2-0-0) a 1-0 advantage.
Moments later, Orioles goalie Luis Benitez Matias saw a shot going up and around him to force him into making a diving save to hold the 1-0 lead. He had three saves before getting subbed for Beau Finley in the second half.
Daniel Lainsbury Jr. headed a ball played by Alexander Ruiz-Shimada in the last minute of the opening half to extend St. Louis Park’s lead to 2-0 going into the break.
In the second half, Eagles forward Alan Conteh capitalized with an open shot in the box to get Kennedy (3-1-2, 0-1-0) on the scoreboard. Eagles goalie Carter Lanadale kept his team in the game, stopping six shots in the second half to finish with seven saves.
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