Sydney Panek and defending state champion Mahtomedi girls' soccer team needed one final push to return to the Class 1A state tournament.
Hill-Murray (13-4-1) had tied Thursday's Class 1A, Section 4 final 2-2 on a Caralyn Conners goal with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. With just seconds left and the game seemingly destined for overtime, the Zephyrs (12-5-1) moved the ball up the field before Panek snuck a shot behind the goalkeeper into the back of the net. With just 16 seconds left on the clock, the goal wrapped up a 3-2 section championship win for Mahtomedi.
A red card five minutes into the second half forced Hill-Murray to finish the game down one player. Audrey Sexson scored on a penalty kick to give the Zephyrs a 1-0 lead 16 minutes into the second half, and the offense opened up from there.
The Pioneers tied the game on a Mahtomedi own goal, which was credited to Anna Ayd.
From there, both teams added goals with Lauren Heinsch giving the Zephyrs a 2-1 lead. Conners' goal with less than four minutes left tied the game at 2-2.
Last season, Mahtomedi defeated Hill-Murray 6-0 in the section final en route to a Class 1A state championship. The Zephyrs won the state title 2-1 over Orono.
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