In the end, it only takes one.
Orono (19-0-3) preserved its undefeated record with a 1-0 victory against Visitation (15-3-2) on Monday at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Class 1A semifinals. The Spartans will face either North Branch or Mahtomedi in the championship 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Senior forward Anna Hughes capitalized on an assist from sophomore midfielder Sadie Koltes in the 15th minute to score the only goal of the match. From there, it was a defensive stand for the rest of the 65 minutes.
Sophomore goaltender Clare Gagne kept a clean sheet, making two saves. She had 72 saves and a 92.3 save percentage heading into this game and led the Spartans to conceding just six goals this whole season. The whole team met Gagne in the midfield to celebrate the victory after the final whistle.
“It’s really just a team effort to get the clean sheet,” Gagne said. “And specifically, the defenders today did a really good job stopping any shots. I don’t think I did very much at all. It was really all them.”
Coming off a rebuilding year in 2016, Orono won a state title in 2014 was runner-up in 2015.
Visitation senior center back Grace Beinlich said her team was an underdog all season and was just “excited” and “lucky” to make it to the semifinal.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been wanting this since we were freshman and to finally do it your senior year is just icing on the cake,” Beinlich said. “So it’s a bummer we didn’t win it, pull off a win today, but we’ve got another one tomorrow and hopefully get that third place.”