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Soccer State Championship Recap

Posted: Friday, November 3, 2023 - 10:21 PM


Six championships were captured on Friday, Nov. 3 when the Minnesota State High School League hosted the final day of the Boys and Girls Soccer State Tournaments at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here is a recap of the action: 

Class AAA


No. 1 Wayzata 2, No. 2 Maple Grove 0

Top-seeded Wayzata reigned as the only remaining undefeated team in Class AAA following a 2-0 victory over No. 2 Maple Grove on Friday, Nov. 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The Trojans (20-0-2) struck early and didn’t let up in capturing the big-school state championship for the second consecutive season and fifth title overall. It is Wayzata’s third state championship since 2017.

In the battle of last undefeated teams in the big-school field, Wayzata needed just 2 minutes and 12 seconds into the game to grab the lead it wouldn’t lose. Junior forward Aiden Judickas had the honors by scoring on a header off a corner kick by senior midfielder Charlie Piller. Those two combined again midway through the first half on a similar scoring play to double the Trojans’ advantage.

It was Wayzata’s 16th shutout of the season.

“I am extremely proud of this group,” Wayzata coach Dominic Duenas said. “They were locked in from Day One. We’ve been focusing on defending from the very first day of training. I couldn’t be more proud of how we defended all season long.”

Maple Grove (19-1-1) was the runner-up for the second time in program history. The first came in 1998 in a loss to Apple Valley in the Class AA championship game. The Crimson had not given up more than one goal in a game this season until the championship game.

“They came out and punched us in the mouths,” said Maple Grove co-head coach Gregg Leininger. “We fought back, but couldn’t get one to go in.”


No. 1 Edina 2, No. 2 Wayzata 1

A team from the Edina School District returned to the winner’s circle for the 201st time in school history on Friday in Game 2 of the League’s Soccer State Tournament. This time, it was the girls soccer team’s turn after posting a 2-1 victory over longtime Lake Conference rival, Wayzata.

As she has done all season, senior midfielder Izzy Engle led the way with two goals as the Hornets (22-0-0) put the finishing touches on a perfect season. The Notre Dame recruit finished the season with 41 goals, including seven in three state tournament games. It is Edina’s first championship in girls soccer since 1986, the program’s first of 14 state tournament trips. In that run, the Hornets were the state runner-up three times, including last season to Rosemount.

From the opening whistle, Edina came out with heavy offensive pressure and spent much of the first half with the territorial advantage. Despite the offensive surges, Wayzata’s defense was strong and well organized in a scoreless first half.

The scoreless draw ended just two minutes into the second half when Engle hit a low ground-hugging shot that found the corner of the net. Wayzata responded soon after on an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Ana Munyon.

With thoughts stirring that overtime might be in store, Engle scored what proved to be the game-winner with 12:54 remaining in regulation time when she utilized her speed and ball touch.

The only two losses from Wayzata (20-2-0) this season were to Edina. The first came in a 7-2 setback on Oct. 3 in the regular-season finale in a Lake Conference game. Wayzata, one of the most powerful girls soccer programs in Minnesota high school history, was seeking its first state crown since 2012, the end of a three-year run of state titles. It was the seventh runner-up finish for the Trojans.

Class AA


No. 2 Hill-Murray 3, No. 1 Orono 0

Forty years after attempting to win a state championship in its first-ever championship game appearance, and two other chances since, the Hill-Murray boys soccer team climbed that final step in securing the elusive title trophy. Senior forward Vinny Pearcy scored two goals to pave the way for the Pioneers (17-3-2), who erased memories of a runner-up finish a year ago to DeLaSalle. In addition to 1983, Hill-Murray was also the Class A runner-up in 2013.

There was little doubt this time for the Pioneers as they seized control from the start and didn’t allow Orono (17-2-2) any chance of mounting a comeback.

Pearcy scored in the ninth minute when he outraced an Orono defender down the far flank. After momentarily controlling the ball, he sent a low shot that just made it inside the post. It remained a one-goal advantage for the rest of the first half.

Hill-Murray doubled the advantage in the 44th minute when senior forward Wilfredo Vargas won a footrace to the ball a chipped a shot into an open goal. Pearcy put the finishing touches on a championship with a goal in the 67th minute.


No. 2 Benilde-St. Margaret’s 1, No. 1 Holy Angels 0

Benilde-St. Margaret’s senior goalkeeper Olivia Olson is known primarily for her prowess on a basketball court. After all, the 6-foot-1 Olson has committed to play collegiately at the University of Michigan, and in March, helped power the Red Knights to the Class AAA basketball crown. While she sat out her junior year to focus on basketball, Olson received the blessing of the University of Michigan women’s basketball staff to return to the Red Knights’ girls soccer team for her senior year.

Her abbreviated high school soccer career ended in dazzling fashion.

Olson made seven saves, including one on a penalty kick, that helped send the No. 2-seeded Red Knights to a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Holy Angels in the Class AA championship game. It is the fifth girls soccer championship for the St. Louis Park-based private school in nine title-game appearances. The last championship came in 2016 when the Red Knights captured their second consecutive Class A title and third in a four-year span.

Senior midfielder Sienna Carver gave Benilde-St. Margaret’s (19-0-3) the only goal it would need when she corralled the ball in a crowded mass of defenders and found enough room to fire a shot past junior goalkeeper Tea Opitz. Minutes later, Olson was called upon to preserve that lead when Holy Angels sophomore Ellen Neuharth stepped up to take a penalty kick. Neuharth fired a shot low and to the right of Olson. If Olson had been perhaps an inch shorter, she might not have made the save. After Olson prevented the shot from going into the goal, the ball spun crazily, and Holy Angels had another whack at it, but the shot sailed wide.

Holy Angels, the Class AA champion in 2022, was seeking its third state championship in six title-game appearances.

Class A


No. 3 St. Paul Academy 3, No. 4 Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 2

Minnesota soccer icon Buzz Lagos sat on the end of the St. Paul Academy bench on Friday night, stoic as ever, but mind surveying the game in front of him. When the game concluded, he smiled proudly and quietly congratulated all connected with the Spartans’ victory that added another state championship to the tradition-rich program.

This Class A championship was special; it was a repeat of state crowns. It was a feat that hadn’t been duplicated by St. Paul Academy since 1986 and 1987 when Lagos put the Spartans on the soccer map, not only in Minnesota, but also nationally. Other championships would follow in a Hall of Fame coaching career, but his impact never waned all these years later. He has helped soccer programs elsewhere, from the preps to the pros, but his coaching journey brought him back to his roots to work with the Spartans as an assistant coach.

“It was really special to do this with Coach Lagos on the bench,” SPA coach Max Lipset said. “It really means a lot.”

The Spartans (14-4-3) captured the latest championship by erupting for three goals in the second half to erase what had been a one-goal deficit. The eventual game-winner was a 25-yard free kick from senior Awaale Osman with 7:22 remaining that gave the Spartans a two-goal advantage. Prior to that, a goal from junior Liam Sullivan and then a penalty kick by senior Orion Kim sent the Spartans on their way.

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa (15-3-2) opened the scoring on a re-direction shot by junior Jacob Carter. The Wildcats pulled to within a goal with 13 seconds remaining when sophomore Anders Hellyer sliced in a short-range shot.

Two of Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s three loses this season were to St. Paul Academy. The other can on Sept. 23 in a 1-0 setback.


No. 4 St. Paul Academy 3, No. 3 St. Charles 0

Just more than two hours after their classmates captured their second consecutive Class A championship, the St. Paul Academy girls soccer team did the same by racing past St. Charles for a 3-0 victory in the last game of Championship Day late Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Junior forward Sawyer Bollinger Danielson scored two goals in the second half in a 5-minute, 33-second span with blasts from outside the box that sailed past St. Charles senior goalkeeper Makadyn Gust. Danielson set the score to a three-goal lead on a shot that was virtually the same as her first goal. Sophomore midfielder Clare Ryan Bradley had opened the scoring for the Spartans (12-6-4) with 8:54 remaining in the first half with a shot from 25 yards that hooked just inside the far post.

St. Paul Academy’s second championship overall in three title-game appearances. In 2004, the Spartans were the Class A runner-up.

Successfully defending a state championship might have seemed like a longshot midway through the season for the Spartans. Through their first 10 games, the Spartans had sputtered to a 2-4-4 mark. But a 1-0 victory over St. Charles on Sept. 23 may have reversed their fortunes and was the springboard in a 10-2 run, which included an eight-game winning streak to end the season.

St. Charles, making its second consecutive state tournament appearance, finished 18-2-2 and had its nine-game winning streak snapped.

Next Article

2023 Boys Soccer State All-Tournament Teams