With a 2-2 stalemate against Sartell-St. Stephen Tuesday morning, the Waconia boys’ soccer team capped its most successful season in team history with a third place finish in the Class A state tournament. With a win, a tie, and a loss, the Wildcats felt it all during the course of the tournament, which began last Friday night, Oct. 25, as the No. 2 seeded Wildcats bested unranked Hermantown 5-0 in Chisago Lakes.
Monday afternoon at the Metrodome, Waconia fell in a 1-0 game to No. 3 Hill-Murray. In the third place game early Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Wildcats tied 2-2 with Sartell-St. Stephen. With no overtime periods in the state tournament, both the Wildcats and the Sabres were awarded third place.
The Wildcats scored two goals in the first half against Hermantown on Oct. 25, both within the first 10 minutes. Senior Charlie Spurbeck scored unassisted two minutes into the game, before junior Anthony Shuster found the back of the net five minutes later on an assist from senior Marcel Montiel.
Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, the ‘Cats opened their 5-0 game winning lead. Spurbeck (assisted by senior James Nash) and Shuster each scored again, before Nash found goal number five for WHS on an assist from Spurbeck.
Waconia had eight shots on goal to Hermantown’s five. Senior Jack Dirnberger made five saves for the WHS shutout.
On Monday, Oct. 28, Waconia played a tightly contested game against No. 3
Hill-Murray. The Pioneers scored just under two minutes into the game to take an early 1-0 lead. Hill-Murray controlled the ball for most of the first half, keeping it at midfield or in Wildcat territory. Both teams would be unable to score throughout the rest of the game, despite multiple opportunities by the Pioneers. Waconia had just two legitimate shots on goal, one each from Spurbeck and junior Truen Breegemann.
Fouls called on WHS plagued the Wildcats, along with few shots on goal, limited Waconia’s scoring chances, compared to Hill-Murray’s 11 shots.
With the loss to Hill-Murray, the Wildcats were set to play in the third place game early Tuesday morning, Oct. 29, against the loser of the other semifinal, Section 8 champions Sartell-St. Stephen.
Scoreless at halftime, the Sabres scored within the first two minutes of the second half. With another Sabre goal 15 minutes later, the Wildcats found themselves trailing 2-0. But that deficit might have been just what the doctor ordered, as Waconia battled back within seven minutes to tie the game at 2-2. First Spurbeck, then Montiel, found the back of the net within five minutes of each other.
Regulation time ended with the score at 2-2, and because Minnesota State High School League rules dictate that a third place tie will not be broken, both the Wildcats and the Sabres will share the honors.
Dirnberger finished the game with four saves, while the Wildcat offense had 11 total shots on goal.
The Wildcats finished the 2013 season 17-2-3. With their third consecutive Wright County Conference title, second straight Section 6A title, and second Class A state tournament appearance, the Wildcats’ third place finish at state marks the team’s best finish in program history.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]