Edina freshman Haley Reeck (7) attacks against Minnetonka defender Kayla Mahabadi (5) in the first half. Reeck scored the game winning goal in overtime for the Hornets' 1-0 victory at Shakopee West Junior High School. Photo by Travis Ellison, SportsEngine
Lake Conference rivals Minnetonka and Edina met for a third time this season in the Class 2A, Section 2 final on Thursday. Both regular season matches went to overtime, so when the buzzer rang at the end of regulation, both teams knew the game had just begun.
“We were ready,” Hornets coach Katie Aafedt said. “Minnetonka’s a great opponent. We did everything we could to not face them again, but OT is nothing new to us this year.”
After a tireless attack on the second-seeded Skippers net, No. 1 Edina finally found its payoff as freshman Haley Reeck rocketed a shot into the back off the net off a free kick from Abby Swanda with 41 seconds remaining, sending the Hornets to their first state tournament since 2009 after a 1-0 finish at Vaughan Stadium in Shakopee.
Reeck showed veteran poise when setting her feet for her game-winning shot, yet the freshman forward has played just nine games this season after missing the first month and a half of the season with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
“I don’t think I’ve come down from the excitement of it,” Aafedt said regarding Reeck’s late-game heroics. “She’s so athletic and one of the fastest players on the field. She’s dangerous from anywhere.”
The free kick was called after the ball hit a Minnetonka player’s face, leading to an injury timeout with 57 seconds remaining.
The Minnesota State High School League made a rule change a few years ago that after an injury the team with possession will retain possession on a free kick instead of restarting play with a dropped ball.
“Credit to Edina they finished and got it done. They’re very good and we really scrapped around for it, we had our moments,” Minnetonka coach Jeff Hopkins said. “It is what it is though."
Edina senior Loli Fidler has been the bane of Minnetonka’s efforts to defeat the Hornets the past two seasons. The Harvard hockey commit has shown an unwavering focus in net, shutting out the Skippers (9-5-4, 2-3-3) in their past three meetings; a combined 369 scoreless minutes and 31 saves.
“She came up big three or four times for them. She’s a great athlete,” Hopkins said of Fidler. “She’s their player of the game despite the kid who scored.”
Fidler, a member of Edina’s girls hockey team that won its first state title last winter, said a championship for the soccer team could mean more for her as she’s never made it to the state tournament yet in her soccer career.
“We’ve never made it this far for soccer and it's been such a big part of my life,” she said. “I might play in college for a club team ‘cause I don’t think I can give it up.”
Minnetonka survived an overtime shootout in its semifinal win over No. 3 Chanhassen, and Thursday’s game was another high-stakes contest Hopkins said he hopes his team can learn from.
“I told them ‘next year starts tomorrow’,” he said. “Recover this weekend and get focused and get ready to overcome this and get a W next year.”
Minnetonka sophomore Sophia Montague (9) pushes the pace late in the second half looking for a last shot on-goal before overtime against Edina at Shakopee West Junior High School. Photo by Travis Ellison, SportsEngine
Freshman Haley Reeck rocketed a shot to the back of Minnetonka’s net with 41 seconds left in overtime to clinch top-seeded Edina's first state tournament berth since 2009 in a 1-0 victory in the Class 2A, Section 2 final at Vaughan Stadium in Shakopee Thursday night.
Abby Swanda sent a free kick towards the net where Skippers goalkeeper Olivia Graupman dropped the ball after colliding with a Hornets (13-1-5, 5-0-3) player. The ball trickled out to Reeck who fired the ball in.
Edina has not surrendered a goal on their way to the state tournament. Loli Fidler made eight saves for the Hornets, while Olivia Graupmann stopped nine shots for the second-seeded Skippers (9-5-4, 2-3-3).
Edina senior goalkeeper Lori Fidler (1) with a clutch on-goal save late in the second overtime as Edina beats Minnetonka 1-0 at Shakopee West Junior High School. Photo by Travis Ellison, SportsEngine
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