Prep soccer: Duluth Denfeld boys, Marshall girls fall in Class A state quarterfinals
LINDSTROM, Minn. -- When Duluth Denfeld last met Blake on the artificial turf at Chisago Lakes Area High School two years ago in a Class A boys soccer state tournament quarterfinal, the Hunters shocked the Bears with a goal in the first minute, a...
LINDSTROM, Minn. - When Duluth Denfeld last met Blake on the artificial turf at Chisago Lakes Area High School two years ago in a Class A boys soccer state tournament quarterfinal, the Hunters shocked the Bears with a goal in the first minute, albeit in a 3-1 defeat.
There were no quick goals - or any goals, for that matter - on Wednesday night for the Hunters, who lost 1-0 to Blake in another Class A quarterfinal.
Will Mortenson broke the scoreless deadlock in the 66th minute and the Bears’ speed continually frustrated the Hunters’ efforts at equalizing.
“Both teams gave it their all,” Hunters coach Scott Anderson said. “Blake kept coming, kept coming, kept coming. We kept defending, trying to poke something through. We had a couple opportunities, but they’re fast. They are a fast team that just gets (the ball) off their foot. They should go a long way.”
Top-seeded Blake (17-1-2) advances to a semifinal meeting against Austin at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis next Tuesday. Unseeded Denfeld (15-4-1) had its season end at the hands of Blake for the second time in three years.
The Bears kept Denfeld’s 27-goal scorer Jon Faynik in check.
“They are a great team and well-coached,” said Faynik, a senior striker who ended his career with 65 goals. “They worked really hard and knew how to play good soccer. They are as good of a defensive team as they are an offensive team. It was tough to play against them.”
Blake coach Tamba Johnson knew marking Faynik was key as it was two years ago when he stunned the Bears with that early goal.
“We knew playing these guys a couple years ago that they were well-coached, and when they have a dangerous guy up front like they do (in Faynik), we had to make sure to come prepared,” Johnson said. “We always had to make sure we were aware of where he was and have a team mentality defending. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Still, Blake needed to find a way to score. The Hunters and goalkeeper Eric Gibson consistently bottled up the speedy Bears for 65 minutes.
That’s when Mortenson pounced on a ball in front of the net.
“I saw it bouncing and I thought if it went through to me and I could get body position on their defender, I would have a good shot at putting it in,” he said. “We knew this was the state tournament so everybody who’s here was going to be really good and nothing was going to be given to us. We had to work really hard and battle to earn everything.”
At the end, a freshly shaved Anderson - the coach promised to get rid of his whiskers if his team won the section - discussed what this team that won the Lake Superior Conference and earned the section’s No. 1 seed meant to him.
“I can’t say enough about these boys for how much they’ve been there for us,” he said.
Duluth Denfeld 0-0-0
First half - No scoring.
Second half - 1. Will Mortenson, 66th.
Goalies - Eric Gibson, DD; Will Taylor, B.
Orono 2, Duluth Marshall 0
It wasn’t Maren Friday’s right knee this time that caused the Hilltoppers problems in their Class A state quarterfinal against the second-seeded Spartans.
Bleeding from a scrape on her left knee and sent to the sidelines by the referee, Friday missed the most crucial minute of play as Orono scored twice in a 43-second span of the first half to spoil the Hilltoppers’ state tournament debut.
Orono (17-2-1), runners-up a year ago, advances to next week’s semifinals at U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Marshall’s season ends at 14-6-1.
“It was frustrating because I had to come off for blood and then they scored two quick ones right away,” Friday said. “We had trouble coming back from that. I think we matched them well, just for those couple minutes we were off and let them have those few moments that really count.”
Junior forward Anna Tesar broke the scoreless deadlock at 26:43 when she floated a 30-yard shot over the outstretched fingertips of Marshall goalkeeper Natalie Welinski, off the underside of the crossbar and over the goal line for her 18th goal of the season.
“I said I might as well go for it,” Tesar said. “You have to take risks to make good rewards out of it. I saw that I had an open shot so I just took it.”
Erin Murray, in her 14th season as Orono head coach, wasn’t upset with the low-percentage shot.
“We tell ‘T’ to shoot whenever she gets the chance,” Murray said of the diminutive Tesar. “She’s probably our craftiest shooter and can score goals that you wouldn’t think people can score.”
Less than a minute later, junior midfielder Reiley Prueter headed a shot between Welinski’s legs for a 2-0 lead.
“We were on our heels,” Marshall coach Nic Bacigalupo acknowledged.
The Hilltoppers’ best scoring chance came midway through the second half when Victoria Thorson took a penalty kick that junior goalie Clare Gagne tipped over the crossbar en route to the Spartans’ 13th consecutive victory and Gagne’s 37th career shutout.
“I thought Marshall should have been ranked higher,” Murray said. “We knew they were a good team and they were going to come at us. We got it into their heads that we had to go out hard against them and that it wasn’t going to be an easy game. We said the earlier we can score the better.”
Marshall started only two seniors, so it’s a good bet the Hilltoppers won’t take as long to make a return trip to the state tournament.
“They are a composed team and we’re young, and it showed at times,” Bacigalupo said. “We didn’t play our best game today and they definitely played a really good game.
“We’re going to miss the seniors, but it gives us good experience moving forward.”
Duluth Marshall 0-0-0
First half - 1. Anna Tesar, 27th minute; 2. Reiley Prueter, 28th.
Second half - No scoring.
Goalies - Natalie Welinski, DM; Clare Gagne, O.