By Ryan Schleicher – Sun FOCUS Newspapers
The official emotional roller coaster ride has begun, section tournament time is here.
Teams from all around the state embark on their journey’s to represent their section at the state tournament beginning in just over a week on Feb. 20.
One of the teams looking to earn that state tournament berth is Irondale who hosted Blaine in the quarterfinal round of the Section 5AA tournament. Irondale (17-6-1) finished the season in second place in the North Suburban Conference, a position good enough to have earned themselves the sixth seed in the section-five bracket. Blaine (17-8) earned the third overall seed good enough for second place in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
Fans could not have asked for a better game as each goalie put on a display stopping shots. Defense was prevalent in forcing offenses to scatter when looking to get shot attempts. A low scoring game had people on the edge of their seats constantly as tension began to mount as each period slipped away.
Eventually, Jessical Mularie broke through for Irondale scoring the games only goal to give the Knights a 1-0 victory. Irondale with the win advances into the semi-final round to take on seventh-seeded Centennial who is coming off a 5-1 victory over second-seeded Andover. Irondale beat Centennial in their only regular season matchup earlier this year, 3-2.
Totino-Grace impresses yet again
Most people believe that the quality of a team is defined in games that test ability, require patience, and force players to manage emotions.
In their 4-3 victory over sixth seeded Simley High School in the first round of the section 4A playoffs, Totino-Grace (11-10-4) did all of that. Good enough to earn the third seed, Totino-Grace proved how teams sustain long-term success.
Simley came out firing, scoring their first goal a minute-and-a-half into the first period when Madi Matthews found the back of the net. Simley opened the second period with a goal as well scoring before the three-minute from Nicki Sabaski to open a 2-0 lead. Kristina Dellich broke through for the Eagles when she lit the lamp at just over the five-minute mark in the second period to cut the lead to 2-1.
Simley answered right back when Nicki Sobaski scored her second of the game and brought the lead back to two. Totino-Grace opened the third period facing a two-goal deficit and elimination from the playoffs. Great players excel when their teams need them the most—Totino-Grace needed a great player. The third period was all Eagles as Amelia Vosen joined the scoring action in addition to Dellich scoring two more goals giving her a hat trick for the game and more importantly a victory to keep their season alive.
Totino-Grace will face second seeded St. Paul United (13-11) from the Tri-Metro Conference who is coming off a 3-0 victory against Minnehaha to advance the semi-final round.