The final hurdle between Mounds View and a state soccer championship was an unlikely one. The Mustangs faced a Rosemount team that ended the regular season 4-6-3, then turned into a giant-killer.
Rosemount was on the verge of springing one last upset, leading 2-0 in the Class 3A finals Saturday, before Sam Hoyt and the Mustangs stormed back.
Mounds View overtook the Irish 3-2, with Hoyt, their Mr. Soccer finalist, scoring in the 38th and 55th minutes to catch up, and Henry Elias delivering the game-winner in the 74th minute. at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“This is one for the ages if we can pull it off and come back,” coach Joe Warren told his team at halftime.
Which the Mustangs did.
“I’m not surprised by anything they’ve done all year, but I’m still impressed every time,” Warren said.
Mounds View finished 16-5 and captured their school’s second state title, 44 years after the first one in 1977. It was Mounds View’s 16th state trip and sixth time in the finals.
Joseph Swallen, senior captain and midfielder, was aware of the ancient history but more concerned with the recent.
“We know it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “We thought we could have won two years ago, but Central knocked us out, and we would have had a good chance last year but there was no tournament due to Covid.”
Rosemount finished 9-7-3 with its third state trip and first finals appearance. Coach Todd Farrington remarked that the Irish had more post-season wins (five) than regular-season (four). He said his players come from different club programs and “had a hard time getting the wheels spinning in the beginning of the year” but came together at playoff time.
Rosemount won their section by avenging regular-season losses to Apple Valley and Eastview, and, at state, knocked out No. 3 seed Edina and No. 2 Duluth East, each by 2-1, in the first two rounds. They were state runners-up despite scoring only 19 goals in 19 games.
The Irish had Mounds View on the ropes. Reid Wolf made a header goal in the seventh minute on a perfect feed from Andres Delgado. The Irish added an “own” goal in the 16th minute. A free kick sailing toward the net glanced off a Mounds View player who leapt for the ball with a Rosemount player.
On the sideline, late in the half, with his team two goals behind for the first time all season, Warren huddled with Hoyt. “I said to Sam, ‘We’ve got to get one,’ ” Warren related. “It was like six minutes left. I knew that if we could, it’s a momentum-changer psychologically for us.”
Hoyt got them on the board with 2:07 left in the half on a crisp grounder just inside the post.
“When we went down 2-0, it kind of dropped the spirits, I guess, of my teammates,” said the senior forward. “But then having that one goal before half, everyone knew we were still in it and we could definitely bring it back.”
Farrington agreed: “Their first goal, right before the half, was a killer.”
Hoyt tied the score with 25 minutes left in the game, with a blast from the left side, about 20 yards out, into the far end of the net. Simon Greer assisted.
Henry Elias drilled the go-ahead goal with 5:52 left from eight yards out on the left side. The assist was a free kick from Swallen that slipped through a pack of players.
Mounds View, seeded No. 4, reached finals beating No. 5 Stillwater 2-1 and Rochester Mayo 2-0. Mayo had knocked out No. 1 seed Minneapolis Southwest 1-0.
Three Mustangs were named to the all-tournament team: Hoyt, Swallen and midfielder Bryce Dullum.