Sadie Koltes (22) and Tess Bazil (7) of Orono battle for ball controll with Ashtyn Lowenberg (2) of Benilde-St. Margaret's in the Class 1A semifinals Tuesday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii * Richard.Tsong-Taatarii@startribune.com
Once Orono scores a goal, opponents should keep watch for at least the next couple minutes, because another goal is likely to get pumped in.
Scoring goals in pairs has driven Orono’s success in the girls’ state soccer tournament. Trailing rival Benilde-St. Margaret’s 1-0 early, the Spartans scored twice within a two-minute span in the second half for a 2-1 victory Tuesday in the Class 1A semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“During the halftime talk, we talked about just playing hard for the first five minutes,” said senior Sarah Michel, who scored the team’s first goal.
Orono coach Erin Murray said she has seen her team score in quick succession all season. The Spartans scored twice within a minute in their state quarterfinal victory over Duluth Marshall.
Orono scored two second-half goals within a couple minutes of each other to defeat Benilde-St. Margaret’s 2-1 on Tuesday in the Class 1A semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Spartans (18-2-1) played from behind throughout most of the first half until senior midfielder Sarah Michel scored in the 43rd minute to tie game. Orono kept the pressure on, and the tandem of junior forward Anna Tesar and senior forward Sarah Johnston combined for another goal to take the lead in the 45th minute. Johnston’s 20th goal of the season found the corner of the net.
The Red Knights (14-5-2) took an early 1-0 lead early when Ms. Soccer finalist, senior midfielder Amanda Cassidy, found the net with a shot that bounced its way through traffic in front. The goal came in just the sixth minute of the game and seemed to give the Red Knights some momentum for the rest of the first half.
The victory extends Orono's winning streak to 14 games and sets up a rematch of last year’s title game with defending champion and top-seeded Mahtomedi. They will play at 10 a.m. Friday to decide the Class 1A winner.
The Spartans will play in the state championship game for the fourth time in the past five years. They won the title in 2014 and finished as a runner-up in 2015 in addition to last year.
Check back later for more on the game.