BY DAVE PEDERSEN
The Wright County Soccer club’s U15 C2 Blue Lightning had to defeat one of the top teams in the state to advance to the state tournament.
The club that includes players from Rockford, Delano and Buffalo opened the state qualifying tournament by avenging a loss to Minneapolis United 3-0.
Next came the most memorable game of the season, resulting in a 3-2 win over the undefeated top playoff seed from Eden Prairie, who was knocked out of the tournament.
WCS lost 1-0 to No. 2 seed Edina in the West District final. The last chance to qualify to state was taken with a 2-0 triumph over Dakota Revolution, runner-up in the South District final.
Unfortunately, WCS had to open the six-team state tournament Sunday with only 11 available players because of injuries and vacations. The Blue Lightening lost 2-1 to Edina. The second game was Tuesday, after this issue went to press.
WCS had a great season, going 17-5-2 overall so far. The team was 6-3-2 in league play and going 11-2-0 in tournament play. Reaching the finals in three tournaments, WCS won the Eden Prairie Cup.
“This team grew in strength and confidence over the course of the season,” said coach Andrew Taylor. “We did not expect to be in the state tournament, but the girls improved dramatically over the second half of the season. It is a great group of hardworking young ladies.”
The other WCS team to advance deep into the postseason was the boys U12 Cyclones C3 team coached by Fritz Budig. After placing fourth in the league at 4-3-2, WCS came alive in the playoffs, defeating Crow River 3-0 and Edina 3-0. The team lost 2-1 to Minneapolis United 2-1 in the West District final.
The loss put WCS in the play-in bracket where the team beat South Metro 3-2 before losing to Worthington 4-1 to end their season.
The Cyclones captured the title at the Plymouth Soccer Association tourney, defeating Crow River 3-1, North Metro 6-0 and Plymouth in a shootout.