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Four prep soccer champions to be crowned Thursday

By Star Tribune, 11/01/17, 5:07PM CDT


Four high school soccer champions, including possibly repeat winners, will be determined Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here's a look at the matchups.

Patrick Weah of Wayzata and Jack Gleckler fight for control of the ball. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Richard.tsong-taatarii@startribune.com)

Class 1A boys

No. 1 Totino-Grace (18-1-1) vs. No. 2 St. Thomas Academy (16-1-3), 10 a.m.

Eagles’ engine: Junior forward Herbert Endeley carried Totino-Grace to the title game with two goals and an assist in a 3-2 overtime semifinal victory against upset-minded Orono. “He’s a fun soccer player to watch,” Orono coach Derek Engler said. Endeley, who scored 33 goals this season, sparks the Eagles with his creative touches and relentless motor.

Back-to-back: A third-place finish two years ago led to a championship last season, and St. Thomas Academy now seeks a repeat performance. But after a too-close-for-comfort semifinal victory that took overtime to decide, the Cadets will need a stronger start in the final. Second-year coach Noel Quinn is in his fourth-consecutive championship, finishing runner-up in 2014 and 2015 with the Eden Prairie girls’ team.



Class 1A girls

No. 1 Orono (19-0-3) vs. No. 3 Mahtomedi (16-3-2), 12:30 p.m.

Three out of four: Orono is back in the state championship match for the third time in the past four years. The Spartans won in 2014 before finishing runner-up in 2015. Coming off a rebuilding season in 2016, Orono has allowed just six goals all year in its so-far undefeated run.

Six-year absence: Before Monday’s semifinal when the Zephyrs gave up two, Mahtomedi hadn’t allowed any goals throughout the section and state tournament and just five all season. Mahtomedi has been to seven state championship games, winning six, the last in 2008. The most recent appearance was in 2010 when the team finished second.



Class 2A boys

No. 1 Wayzata (19-0-2) vs. No. 2 Stillwater (18-1-2), 3 p.m.

Fully loaded, part one: Wayzata’s scoring depth and resulting 6-2 semifinal victory stunned Maple Grove, which had not allowed more than two goals in a game all season. The Crimson focused on Patrick Weah — who scored anyway — but allowed goals from four other Trojans. “They just had too many other weapons,” Maple Grove coach Greg Leininger said. Wayzata seeks redemption after falling in the title game to Stillwater last season.

Fully loaded, part two: Duluth East enjoyed success against several strong metro-area soccer programs this fall. Defending champion Stillwater, however, was different. The Ponies showed their myriad talents in a 5-1 semifinal victory against the Greyhounds. “Stillwater is just all-around good,” Duluth East junior Seth Hoffman said. “They have 11 good guys on the field who can play their position well and move the ball.”



Class 2A girls

No. 5 Eagan (16-2-2) vs. No. 3 Maple Grove (19-2), 5:30 p.m.

History on their side: Eagan won back-to-back Class 2A titles in 2014 and 2015 and, combined with their last two victories, have won eight consecutive state tournament games. Coach Bulut Ozturk is adept at implementing tactical game plans designed to shut down opponents. And the Wildcats boast the tournament’s top goalkeeper in junior Megan Plaschko.

Leaning on the best: Maple Grove, with the state’s top player in midfielder Merideth Haakenson, is making its first state tournament appearance a memorable one. Haakenson, who committed to Michican, was recently named Class 2A Ms. Soccer. Artful in the midfield and dangerous with the ball, she’s also terrific on defensive. With defender L. J. Kolodge, they make it difficult for opponents to mount an attack.


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