Before Monday’s Class 1A semifinal match, Mahtomedi had allowed just five goals all season and none throughout the section and state tournaments.
So conceding the first goal to unseeded North Branch came as quite the shock to the No. 3 seed.
It actually took until fewer than four minutes were left in the match for the Zephyrs to take their first lead, but it was enough to seal a late 3-2 comeback victory against at U.S. Bank Stadium.
While the first goal was a wake-up call, senior forward Abby Shultz said her team’s connection is what kept it in the match.
“It’s like the closest team I’ve ever been on, and I think that’s a really big part of it,” Shultz said, “how much we’ve bonded and how close of friends we are more than anything.”
North Branch junior forward Mercedey Harper scored that initial goal in the 25th minute with an assist from senior midfielder Savannah Linkert. But with about six minutes left in the half, Mahtomedi junior forward Sonia Meyer dribbled around several defenders and shot the ball through traffic for the equalizer.
Vikings senior midfielder Kalianna Brahs scored off senior midfielder Keeley Ertl's assist in the 40th minute for a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Mahtomedi, though, scored twice in the second half goals, first on a goal in the 43rd minute from Shultz and later when Meyer headed in a corner kick.
North Branch's record fell to 16-4-1. Brahs said she was just “super excited” to have this “great experience” of playing in the semis.
“A lot of emotions,” Brahs said. “We came in ready and stuff. And the last four minutes, I feel like we just kind of broke down got in our heads a little bit.”
Mahtomedi (16-3-2) now faces No. 1 Orono in the championship 12:30 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
No. 3 seed Mahtomedi came back for a late 3-2 victory against unseeded North Branch on Monday at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Class 1A semifinals.
North Branch scored first from junior forward Mercedey Harper, with an assist from senior midfielder Savannah Linkert, in the 25th minute.
Mahtomedi came back with the equalizer with about six minutes left in the half when junior forward Sonia Meyer dribbled around several defenders and shot the ball through traffic.
But in the 40th minute, Vikings senior midfielder Kalianna Brahs scored off senior midfielder Keeley Ertl's assist.
Mahtomedi, though, scored two second-half goals to claim the victory. In the 43rd minute, senior forward Abby Shultz scored from a pass by sophomore midfielder Sydney Panek. Meyer than tallied her brace off a header from sophomore forward Audrey Sexson’s corner kick with fewer than four minutes to play.
The Zephyrs (16-3-2) now face No. 1 Orono in the championship 12:30 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
North Branch's record fell to 16-4-1.
Check back later for more on the game.