It will be Mahtomedi vs. Orono in the state Class A girls soccer finals for the third straight season.
The Zephyrs (15-2-2) scuttled Blake 3-0 in the semifinals Monday — keyed by two goals 50 seconds apart just before halftime — at U.S. Bank Stadium.
They will try for their third consecutive title, after beating Orono 2-1 in 2017 and 1-0 in overtime last year. Orono (15-3-3) earned another shot at Mahtomedi by stopping Holy Angels 2-1 in overtime the other semifinal. They will duel Thursday, 10 a.m.
“I feel like we’ll have a lot of fire for the game,” Orono coach Erin Murray said. “I think the girls wanted to see Mahtomedi in the championship game. I think they’re pumped to get back there.”
"It is a lot like playing against ourselves," said Mahtomedi coach Dave Wald about the familiar opponent. "They do not give up a lot of goals. They have depth of talent and a very good goalie. It is imperative that we play 80 solid minutes."
Mahtomedi is by far the leading school in Class A girls soccer, making their 15th state trip and going 8-1 in nine state championship games. “You still get nervous. It’s the state tournament,” said Wald. Orono is making its 11th state trip and has won two titles.
Lauren Heinsch got Mahtomedi on the board just 3:31 into the game after taking a breakout pass at mid-field. She dribbled up the right sideline, made a cut toward the goal and used her left foot to steer it into the net from 10 yards.
It remained 1-0 until Anna Wagner, off a corner kick, scored with her back to the net, using her heel, with 1:07 left in the half. “Never made one like that before,” she grinned.
Then Audrey Sexson rolled one into with just 19 seconds left, from a scramble in the six-yard box. Wagner got the assist.
That third goal made things “a little more comforting,” Sexson said.
Blake coach Kelsey Hans lamented, “It’s a little more difficult when it goes from 1-0 to 3-0. That takes the spirits down a little.” Her team finished 13-8 after a 5-6 start.
Mahtomedi hunkered down on defense in the second half. Megan Lisowy, goalkeeper, made three saves. The Zephyrs totaled nine shots on goal with Blake’s Makenna Vavrichek stopping six. The Zephyrs controlled the ball, making nine corner kicks to Blake’s two.