It’s certainly a thrilling way to end a soccer game, but to the coaches in the second Class 2A semifinal on Tuesday, a shootout with a berth in the state championship game on the line was not what they’d hoped for.
Maple Grove, making its first state tournament appearance, made the most of the situation, outscoring Lakeville North 3-1 in the shootout to advance to Thursday’s Class 2A championship game.
“You never like to go to a shootout,” Maple Grove coach Ben LeVahn said. “We really pushed hard to finish it during regulation.”
The No. 3-seeded Crimson (19-2) outplayed the Panthers for much of regulation and through two overtime periods, but when the time ran out, the two teams were in a scoreless deadlock.
A shootout loomed, bringing back bad memories for Lakeville North coach Jeremiah Johnson.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “We lost in a shootout in the quarterfinals last year to the eventual champion. The year before that, we lost in a shootout in the semifinals to Eden Prairie. Three years in a row, losing in a shootout, it stings.”
Lakeville North’s first two shooters missed, hitting the crossbar and the goalpost, while Maple Grove converted its first two tries, giving the Crimson the advantage.
“The post and the crossbar were very cruel today,” Johnson said.
The eventual winner was scored by Meredith Haakenson, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and recently named Class 2A Ms. Soccer winner.
“At first, I was a little hesitant,” Haakenson said. “But once I got up there, I knew with all the practice we had done that it was going to be easy for me.”