Totino-Grace comes up short in state soccer
BY ryan schleicher – SUN NEWSPAPERS
As fans and players filtered into the Metrodome to take part in the 2012 state soccer tournament feelings of optimism and anxiety could be felt throughout.
Totino-Grace had just come off a huge challenge by Cloquet who forced the Eagles into two overtimes in their quarterfinal matchup. Eventually Totino-Grace found the net and squeeked by with a 1-0 victory and the opportunity to face Blake School in the semi-finals.
Optimism? Yep and why not? Totino-Grace earned their right to the state tournament and has been considered one of the best soccer teams by many coaches across the state.
Anxiety? Yep, and rightfully so. Cloquet put a big scare into Totino by taking them down to the wire proving that no opponent can ever be taken lightly even if they are a major underdog.
Onto the semi-finals where Totino-Grace (16-2-2) squared off against Blake School (16-2-2). Blake, another school who earned their right to be at the state tournament by beating an on fire DeLasalle team 2-0 to capture the section 3A championship. After shutting out Alexandria in their quarterfinal matchup the stage was set for two of Minnesota’s girls soccer teams to play for a spot in the class A championship game. Unfortunately, two first half goals from Blake made this one an uphill climb early on for Totino-Grace and they simply never recovered. Those two first half goals ended up being the difference as neither team was able to score in the second-half.
Totino-Grace’s shot at a state title had been eliminated but there was still pride to play for when they were seeded in the championship game of the consolation bracket against South St. Paul. South St. Paul must have wanted it more as they proceeded to defeat Totino-Grace 2-1 and send the Eagles home on a two-game losing streak the first time that happened all season. Totino-Grace finished the season with an impressive record of 16-4-2 and being able to claim fourth in the state.
Other state finishers were South St. Paul in third, Blake who defeated Totino-Grace in the semi-finals lost in their championship match to claim second place and it was Benilde-St. Margarets claiming their first ever girls state soccer championship.