Centennial has been relying on its rugged defense and the strong leg of Khyah Harper all season.
The old stand-by’s came through again Tuesday in the first round of the state tournament.
Harper scored both goals — against an opponent that had allowed only five goals all season — and the Cougars limited Lakeville South to a single goal in 89 1/2 minutes, for a 2-1 overtime win in the Class AA quarterfinal at Farmington.
The game-winner with 23 seconds left in the 10-minute overtime came after a corner kick. Harper received a short pass, dribbled briefly and blasted the ball into the net.
Harper got No. 2 seeded Centennial on the board in the 28th minute. Lakeville South’s Sammy Ponsonby tied it 1-1 in the 44th minute.
A junior forward, Harper has 25 goals for the season, including all five in the Cougars’ section final and state opener. Summer Francis and Lauren Ahles assisted on her goals against Lakeville South.
The Cougars have allowed only two goals in four games in the section and state tournaments.
In the other quarterfinals, top-seeded Champlin Park beat Stillwater 2-1, No. 5 Maple Grove beat No. 4 Minnetonka 2-0, and No. 3 Rosemount beat Cretin-Derham Hall 1-0.
The semifinal matchups Monday at U.S. Bank Stadium will be Champlin Park (17-0-2) vs. Maple Grove (16-2-1) at 8 a.m. and Centennial (17-2) vs. Rosemount (17-2-1) at 10 a.m. Three of the four are Northwest Suburban Conference teams, the only exception being Rosemount.