The Irish soccer teams look to achieve a rare feat Tuesday, Oct. 17; have both the boys and girls advance to the state tournament. Here is how each team made it to the section championship match.
Boys break out at the right time
After a stretch of ties and losses in the middle half of the season, the Rosemount boys ended the regular season with two wins and carried that momentum into the playoffs. The Irish, who are the sixth-seed, knocked off no. 3 seed St. Paul Central 2-1 on the road Oct. 10. Two days later, they traveled to second-seeded Eagan and pitched a 1-0 shutout of the Wildcats. If the Irish won Tuesday night in Burnsville against Apple Valley, they would then move on to state tournament play. The field would be re-seeded and matchups would take place at a time to be determined and hosted by the highest seed. Teams that win would play Monday, Oct. 30, and then either Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Thursday, Nov. 2, at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Girls continue strong play
The Rosemount girls opened sections as the third seed and blanked no. 6-seeded Apple Valley 5-0 last Tuesday. Senior Jasmine Finley had two goals for the Irish while senior Lauren Bangh, junior Lexi Vixayvong and senior Rachel Schorn all added a goal each.
After a dramatic match to end the regular season against Burnsville, some coaches might be worried about a bit of a letdown going into the next match. However, head coach Gretchen Stramel said that her team went into the Apple Valley match with the right mindset.
"Section play is a clean slate, lose and you're done, win and you get to keep doing what you love," she said. "It's anyone's game and we made a point of taking nothing for granted. We played a solid game, used the outside of the field well, finished on opportunities, won the 50-50 balls and played solid defense."
The Irish were then able to get revenge on no. 2-seed Burnsville, who they tied 5-5 in their last regular season game. Rosemount took home the 2-1 overtime victory with a second-half goal from senior Megan Dahl and the overtime winner from sophomore Olivia Kraemer.
"The girls played a solid game in our tie against Burnsville," Stramel explained. "We knew it was important to shut down Burnsville's two leading scorers and our defense did just that. Senior Caitlin Miller and junior Mackenzie Anderson stepped up their game and led the team defensively shutting down the Burnsville offense. Offensively we did what worked before. Megan Dahl scored off a header on a Sydney Essler (junior) corner kick just minutes into the second half. In the 14th minute of overtime Olivia Kraemer earned the golden game-winning goal moving the Irish to the section finals."
If the Irish beat top-seeded Eagan in Burnsville, like the boys they would then be re-seeded and matchups would take place at a time to be determined and hosted by the highest seed. If they won that first game, they would play Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Thursday, Nov. 2, at U.S. Bank Stadium.