Girls soccer section heartbreak

Mike Geer and Sean Buckhorn, Mike Geer, and Sean Buckhorn

This is not how Casey Teichert envisioned her senior season: sprawled on the Hopkins turf, miles away from the Metrodome, surrounded by crying teammates. The scoreboard above her was proof of the unexpected, what no one thought could possibly happen. The Red Knight girls’ soccer team––the number one team in the state, a team thought to be unstoppable––had just lost in the Section 6A final.

QUARTERFINALS

From the beginning of the tournament, the Red Knights played like what they were: the top seed who received a first-round bye, clearly the best team in the section. The Red Knights stormed to a 3-0 victory over the Holy Family Fire, seeded eighth in the section.

A breakaway goal with a minute left in the first half by sophomore midfielder Aly Hoffman, her first of the season, started the scoring for the Red Knights. A vicious header by senior captain Maddie Bergh then brought the score to 2-0 in favor of the home team, and the scoring would conclude with a spectacular left-footed finish by senior forward Casey Teichert.

“It was a good defensive effort by the whole team,” said senior captain and midfielder Laura Kosch, “And a good way to start the tournament.”

SEMIFINALS

Turf then replaced the muck and mud of BSM’s field as the girls moved to Hopkins High School’s stadium for their semi-final showdown with St. Louis Park. The change in scenery was no matter to the Red Knights, however, as they moved past the Orioles 1-0.

The 20 degree wind chill resulted in a sluggish start for both teams; very few offensive attacks were made. It was not until the second half that play began to pick up. “I had a fleece, a jacket, mittens, and blanket with me,” said junior defender Kackie Dankbar. “I was still freezing.”

The winning goal came with only four minutes left in the game, courtesy of a 35-yard laser off the foot of sophomore midfielder Peggy Renier. “It came out of nowhere,” said Kosch. “No one was expecting it, but it was sick.” Renier’s goal catapulted the Red Knights into the section finals to face the Orono Spartans.

FINALS

Throughout their entire BSM soccer careers, the 10 seniors on the team have faced the Orono Spartans in the section final every single year, the Red Knights winning each time. This was not the case Saturday night, however, as the Red Knights suffered a crushing defeat 1-0.

From the first whistle, this deep-seated rivalry was evident, as the Red Knights and Spartans traded hard hits and fouls. “They were out for blood,” said senior Melissa Borer. “It was a really physical game.”

Though both teams were held scoreless in the first half, five minutes into the second half a BSM player attempted to clear the ball over the net off a corner kick, but mistakenly scored for Orono. “It wasn’t her fault,” said senior captian Maddie Jobe. “There wasn’t anything she could do about it.”

The next thirty-five minutes of play were filled with determined desperation, but proved to not be enough. The final whistle sounded, and the Red Knights crumpled to the field; the Spartans had just punched their ticket to the state tournament.

“We were definitely the better team,” said Kosch. “They just got all of the lucky bounces.”

The initial shock of the loss has worn off for Teichert; she now can see the past few months in perspective. “It was a really good season. We really bonded as a team,” said Teichert.

The Red Knights finished the season 16-2-1, winning the North Suburban Conference title. Jobe was selected as Ms. Soccer, a prestigious honor given the state’s top player.

The Red Knights will no doubt seek redemption next year, as twelve players will return, but the impact of this year’s senior class cannot be overlooked. Over the past four years, the Red Knights made three consecutive trips to the state tournament––finishing second, fourth, and third––as well as winning four North Suburban Conference titles. “[These past four years] have been the best,” said Kosch. “I’ll never forget them.”