By Bob San
Maple Grove was seeded No. 1 and entered the Section 5 girls’ soccer tournament with high hopes of making the program’s first state tournament.
But archrival Osseo had other ideas. The Orioles, seeded eighth and with only one win all season, stunned the fourth-ranked Crimson in the quarterfinal with a 3-2 overtime win Oct. 9.
The two teams had played just four days ago and the Orioles put on a good fight before losing to MG 2-0. In the section quarterfinal, Osseo took a 2-0 first half lead. Junior captain Ayo Porte headed in the first goal and the Orioles went up 2-0 on an own goal by Maple Grove. Junior midfielder Anna Meixner was credited with the goal.
Maple Grove battled back in the second half and tied the score on goals by Anna Sivanich and Haley Nelson. The Crimson put on tremendous pressure and had a couple great scoring chances but the Osseo defense anchored by Sarah Todey and junior captain Emily Peterson and goalie Nikki Breuer kept the score tied 2-2. Breuer came up big when she stopped a clean Maple Grove breakaway in the final minutes to force sudden death overtime.
The Orioles quickly ended the suspense when senior captain Aimee Dahl gained possession and took a bouncing shot from about 20 yards out that found the net to give Osseo the victory.
The loss ended a superb season for the Crimson, who reached their No. 1 goal by capturing the Northwest Suburban Conference title. They tied then No. 1 Centennial and defeated then No. 4 Andover 4-0 to win the conference crown.
“We always set goals for our team to accomplish that are realistic for that year’s team and this year our major goal is to win a conference title,” said Nelson.
Unfortunately, the Crimson ran into a vastly improved Osseo squad in the section. The Orioles went through almost the entire regular season without a win until they upset No. 7 Andover Oct. 2. Ironically, their first win gave Maple Grove the conference championship, but their second win derailed the Crimson’s state tournament dream.
The Orioles went on to lose to Irondale 3-2 in the semifinal. Porte and Lula Aandahl scored the Osseo goals. The Orioles’ late-season performances paved a foundation for next season.
“I could not be more proud of this team,” Osseo assistant coach Traci Ohlenkemp said. “You ladies are tremendous players, but more than that you’re tremendous people.”