Neither Mahtomedi goal scorer was sure, at first, if her shot actually scored.
That’s pretty telling for how sneaky those two goals were, as No. 3 seed Mahtomedi defeated Orono 2-1 on Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium to win the Class 1A championship. It was the Zephyrs’ first title since 2008 in their first trip back to the final since 2010. In eight final appearances, they have won seven times.
It wasn’t surprising that it took until the 63rd minute for the breakthrough goal. Top-seeded Orono (19-1-3) had allowed just six goals all season while Mahtomedi had conceded only seven.
Mahtomedi forward Abby Shultz scored first with an assist from junior defender Megan Clements, hitting the ball so hard it bounced off the bottom crossbar and out of the net too fast for her to even realize she had scored right away.
About three minutes later the Zephyrs (17-3-2) gave up their first penalty kick of the year, and Orono senior defender Maddie Loder scored it.
But in the 73rd minute, junior midfielder Grace Padelford – despite the ball smacking her square in the nose just 30 seconds before – scored off a top-corner distance strike for what proved to be the game-winner.
“My eyes are watering, and I can barely see the ball, and I just shoot it,” Padelford said. “Most of my shots, they always go over, and so I was like, ‘Oh gosh, it’s going over.’ And then it just hit the post … and I thought it didn’t go in. But then everybody started cheering.”
Mahtomedi coach Dave Wald said after playing goalkeeper in some practices, he knew his team could make unbelievable shots. But midway through the season, the Zephyrs were only averaging about 10 shots a match. After talking about that, the Zephyrs ramped up their efforts to about 40 shots per game and saw their score lines skyrocket. That advice is what convinced Shultz and Padelford to go for it.
Loder called them “really great goals” that were “tough to stop.”
Orono coach Erin Murray said, “I don’t know many goalies or any goalie in the state that can stop those once they’re off that player’s foot.”
Orono was in the final for the third time in four years, having won in 2014 and finishing second in 2015.
Heading into the Class 1A state title match, Orono had allowed just six goals all season while Mahtomedi had conceded only one more at seven.
So it wasn’t surprising that it took 62 minutes for the breakthrough goal.
No. 3 Mahtomedi, though, eventually prevailed with a 2-1 result against No. 1 Orono on Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium to claim the Zephyrs’ first title since 2008 in its first trip back to the final since 2010.
Orono (19-1-3) was in the final for the third time in four years, having won in 2014 and finishing second in 2015.
Mahtomedi (17-3-2) got the game's firstl goal from all-tournament senior forward Abby Shultz, with an assist from all-tournament junior defender Megan Clements. The Zephyrs weren’t sure if it went in right away and had a bit of a delayed celebration when they realized it had.
Orono, though, earned a penalty kick about four minutes later, and senior defender Maddie Loder stepped up to sink it.
But in the 73rd minute, junior midfielder Grace Padelford scored a goal off a top-corner distance strike for what proved to be the game-winner.
Check back later for more on the game.