Girls’ soccer wins State

The girls’ soccer team won the State title by beating the Blake Bears 3-2 in overtime. This was the first State championship win for the girls’ soccer program.

Andrew Birkeland, Staff Writer

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s girls’ soccer team won the program’s first State championship after beating the Blake Bears 3-2 in the title game on Thursday, November 1. The game-winning goal was awarded to senior forward Dana Buckhorn, her second of the tournament, after a free-kick in the first overtime period.

The Red Knights’ 1-0 loss to Blake in last year’s title game provided motivation for the team going into the State tournament and throughout their entire season. “It was so much more motivation. Losing was such a terrible feeling, we didn’t want to go through it again. Winning was the only option,” senior captain Anne Arnason said.

Blake started the scoring when junior midfielder Lydia Sutton finished a rebound to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. Junior midfielder Kelly Pannek evened the score on a free-kick from Buckhorn when a scramble in front of the net resulted in Pannek getting the ball and putting it into the goal.

The tie game was broken in the second half when senior midfielder Haley Jerabek’s front-flip throw-in was headed in by Pannek past Blake goalie Maddy Crawford, giving the Red Knights a 2-1 lead.

The Bears responded when a turnover led to defensemen Maggie Warner tying the game at 2-2 with eight minutes to play. “When they tied [the game] we didn’t change our game, we just had more faith…they just had a really good team and a lot of good players. We were well matched,” Arnason said.

After eighty minutes of regulation play, the Red Knights headed into their third consecutive overtime game. “When we were going into [overtime], everyone was like, ‘Okay, we’ve done this before.’ It’s still pressure, it’s a State championship game…but, we can come from behind, we can score, we can beat them in overtime,” Pannek said.

Both teams looked to get the winning goal early and when Buckhorn was taken down just outside the penalty area, she immediately got back up and demanded to take the free-kick. Buckhorn had scored the winning goal against South St. Paul in the semifinal and was looking to give the Red Knights their first state title. “Kelly [Pannek] came up to me and Kelly gives me pep talks before everything and she was like, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to score,’” Buckhorn said.

Buckhorn blasted a low line drive into the goalie box where it deflected off of a Blake defender and went past Crawford, adding to the senior’s spectacular season as the third member of BSM’s 100-point club and an appointee of the Star Tribune’s All-Metro team with 23 goals.

Head coach Scott-Helling Christy and the Red Knights have been on the cusp of winning state titles, but three second-place finishes were the best they could do. “We haven’t played our best games in State the past two years, and this year we played our best games in State, maybe not our best but we stayed composed. We finished the games and played the whole time,” Pannek said.

For senior captains Anne Arnason, Haley Jerabek, and Dana Buckhorn, the championship game capped off four-year varsity careers and provided the ideal ending to their high school soccer careers. “It feels really good, especially for the seniors, the people who have been on the team the past three years, and we’ve just been upset. So it feels really good,” Buckhorn said.