Mustangs begin championship chase Wednesday in St. Cloud


The Mounds View High School girls soccer team. (photos courtesy of Ann Nash Photography)

Emily Boyer, sophomore midfielder, No. 10

Brian Meyers
sports writer

When the Mounds View High School girls soccer team started practice back in mid-August, the most recent prep soccer memory for most of the players was walking off the field following a first-round playoff loss to Irondale a season earlier. So when new head coach Terri Patraw told the team that it was going to get to the state tournament this fall, a certain amount of skepticism was understandable.

Patraw’s prediction turned out to be true, however, as the top-ranked Mustangs are headed to state this week. Mounds View punched its ticket to the Class AA state tournament by beating third-seeded Maple Grove 1-0 in the Section 5AA final on Oct. 15.

“Right off the bat, Coach Terri said we’re going to state,” said Mounds View senior goalkeeper Erika Johnson. “We were just like, ‘What?’ Once we saw how the season was going we knew it was in our future.”

Mounds View opens the state tournament Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Cloud State University. The second-seeded Mustangs (18-0-0) take on unseeded Eden Prairie (11-5-2) with the winner advancing to the semifinals on Oct. 29 at the Metrodome.

Johnson did her part by shutting out Maple Grove. She has given up just five goals through 18 appearances.

“I have a huge adrenaline rush right now,” Johnson said. “I never would’ve expected this. It’s going to be quite the experience for all of us.”

The Mustangs got the only offense it would need from junior forward Heather Ley, whose shot off of a cross from Emily Michaelson beat Maple Grove keeper Casey Autey with 1:03 left in the second half.

“The cross came in and I wasn’t going to let it get by me because it already got by me once,” said Ley. “I was going to put everything I had into it and I did and got it in.”

It was just Mounds View’s third 1-0 game of the season but Patraw felt her team carried most of the play.

“I actually thought we dominated more in the second half than in the first so I thought it was just a matter of time,” said Patraw. “We weren’t looking forward to overtime because then anything can happen. I think we stayed confident.”

Burnsville (16-0-3) drew the No. 1 seed in the state tournament despite having fewer wins than Mounds View. The Blaze open against unseeded Andover (10-8-1). The other first-round matches pit third-seeded Minnetonka (14-2-2) against unseeded Elk River (10-6-3) and fourth-seeded Lakeville North (13-2-3) against fifth-seeded Mahtomedi (17-1-1). Mounds View is in the state tournament for the first time since 2010 when it finished tied for third place. The Mustangs played Eden Prairie in the state semifinals that year and lost 2-0 before tying Stillwater 1-1 in the third-place match.

Eden Prairie, the champion of Section 2AA, enters the state tournament having won eight in a row and the Eagles have given up only three goals in that stretch. The only common opponent that Mounds View and Eden Prairie played this season is Woodbury. The Eagles beat the Royals 2-0 at a tournament in Duluth to open the season while the Mustangs closed out the regular season with a 3-1 win over the Royals.

The Eden Prairie/Mounds View winner advances to the semifinals and a match against either Minnetonka or Elk River. The state championship will be decided on Halloween at 3 p.m. at the Metrodome.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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