Boys Soccer: Polars hand Prairie Seeds their first state tournament loss

Wally Wakefield
Review staff

North 2 — Prairie Seeds 1

On a chilly night at Chisago Lakes High School, the North High Polars took on Prairie Seeds Academy of Brooklyn Park in the opening round of the Class AA Minnesota State High School Boy’ Soccer touranment

Coming into the contest, the Prairie Seeds Academy Lycans—champions of Section 5AA—were undefeated with a record of 14-0-0. The Polars, the Section 4AA champions, entered the tournament with a mark of 17-1-1.

The near-freezing temperatures, fanned by a slight breeze, kept the fans huddled under blankets.

It was chilly everywhere except on the field of play, as the action swung from one end to the other.

In the end, it was North’s defense that held off the Prairie Seeds Academy attack to post a 2-1 victory.

The precision passing of the Lycans provided the Polars defense with a task that in the end it proved up to. The Polars’ win advanced to the Metrodome.

They faced Andover High School—Section 7AA champion with a mark of 14-4-1 coming into the tournament—Monday, Oct. 28. The Andover Huskies defeated Minneapolis Southwest 2-1 in the opening game of play.

North coach Casey Holm compared the trip to the state tournament this year with the Polars’ last trip in 2011. “Last time it was more just about getting there. We were excited just to be there. (North lost in the first round then.)

“This year we want more. We want to go all the way. The first time we were young. Now we have experience, and we’re looking to win it all.

“We’re excited about our opportunities this time around. We had to call on our defense to hold (the Lycans) off. and they (the North defensemen) came up big time in the end. Now it’s on to the ‘Dome’!”

Lycans score first

The Lycans worked the ball into the North end and a great feed cut through the box to just outside the left post. There a charging Mounir Peterson-Darbaki caught the ball and steered it to the back twines at the 16-minute mark of the first 40-minute period.

The Polars regrouped and were having some problems breaking into the Lycans’ zone when suddenly what was likened to a North hockey game broke out.

The combination of Adam Hildebrandt, and the Oliver twins—Tyler and Justin—broke into the Prairie Seeds Academy box. Crisp passing saw Tyler Oliver feed the ball across to Hildebrandt, who quickly relayed it back into the center to Justin.

A one-time blast came off the foot of Justin from in close and sailed high into the upper left corner for the tying 1-1 tally at 20:13 of the first period.  

The first half ended all knotted at 1-1, and the teams regrouped to get ready for the second stanza.

Early in the second 40 minutes the Polars picked up the winning score. In a play similar to their first, North scored again.

This time it was the Oliver twins who put the ball on the foot of HIldebrandt, who had moved in close to the left post of the Prairie Seeds Academy net.

The senior midfielder let fly—from 12 feet in front—a cannon shot that nearly tore through the back mesh. Hildebrandt’s score came just 2:06 into the second half of play.

“We did it. Give Adolfo (Barrera-Gonzalez) credit for that one,” said a smiling Hildebrandt after the game. “He deserves the credit. He told me to ‘feed’ the ball on my foot. I followed his instructions.

“When I got the ball I just put my head down and hit it as hard as I could. He (the Prairie Seeds goalie) didn’t have much of a chance. It’s pretty hard to stop anything that hard from that close.”

For the next 37:54, the Polars and the Lycans had some good chances that sailed wide or high. But in the end it was North that hung on to gain the trip to the “Dome” that eluded them two years ago.

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