State berth on the line for Polars soccer


North High senior defense Robert Anigbogu (3) chases down and kicks the ball up field during the opening of Section 4AA action at home. The Polars beat Hastings 5-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Before any of them could have headed off for an MEA-week trip, the North High School boys soccer players had some business to attend to on Oct. 18. The Polars had a state-tournament berth to earn.

For the second-straight season and the third time in four years, North headed to the section final. The Polars beat Hastings and East Ridge in the first two rounds last week to set up a rematch with Stillwater, which was played after the deadline for this edition of the review

The winner advances to the Class AA state tournament, which starts next week. The top-ranked and unbeaten Ponies are responsible for one of the Polars’ two losses this season. Stillwater knocked off North 3-2 back on Sept. 17.

North, the No. 3 seed in Section 4AA, reached the semifinal with a dramatic shootout victory over second-seeded East Ridge on Oct. 13. Through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, the Polars and Raptors were knotted at 1-1.

Kenlove Solon scored North’s lone goal in regulation at the nine-minute mark and that marker stood up for more than 64 minutes. East Ridge tied it with seven minutes left in the second half.

In the shootout, North outscored East Ridge 4-2 to advance.

A year ago, East Ridge beat North in overtime in the section final.

North (16-2) opened the post-season on Oct. 11 with a 5-0 shutout of Metro East Conference rival Hastings. Ata Claremond led the Polars against the Raiders with two goals while Giovanny Salas, Busquets Jeudi and Darrion Thao added single goals.

Stillwater reached the section final by beating Tartan 10-0 in the quarterfinals and White Bear Lake 3-1 in the semifinals.

The state tournament quarterfinals are scheduled for Oct. 25-27 at various sites and moves to U.S. Bank Stadium with the semifinals on Oct. 31 and the championship match on Nov. 3.

On the girls’ side, North was seeded seventh and lost 5-0 to second-seeded East Ridge in the quarterfinals.

Both Tartan soccer teams also lost in the first round. The girls were the eighth seed and lost 3-0 to top-seeded Stillwater while the boys, also seeded eighth, lost to Stillwater 10-0.

 

Hill-Murray

Both Hill-Murray soccer teams were successful in their playoff openers last week. 

The boys team, seeded sixth in Section 4A, beat 11th-seeded Mounds Park Academy 5-1 in the first round on Oct. 13. The Pioneers advanced to face third-seeded St. Croix Prep in the quarterfinals on Oct. 15, past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

Troy Tischler led Hill-Murray’s attack with two goals and two assists. Jack Jurgensen, Ken Baublitz and Louis Dinzeo added single goals for the Pioneers, who also got single assists from Lucas Bechtold, Baublitz and Dinzeo.

On the girls’ side, Hill-Murray is the fourth seed in Section 4A and beat 13th-seeded St. Paul Johnson 13-0. The Pioneers hosted fifth-seeded St. Agnes in the quarterfinals on Oct. 15.

The section playoffs continue this week with the semifinals on Oct. 18 and the championship game on Oct. 20.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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