Girls’ soccer overcomes Hill-Murray in State A Semifinal


Tommy McGinn

Junior Ingrid Lundberg dribbles the ball near midfield as the Red Knights try to get the ball into the Hill-Murray zone.

The BSM girls’ soccer team outlasted the Hill-Murray Pioneers 3-2 in the State A Semifinal on Monday, October 31, at US Bank Stadium.  The Red Knights were locked in a neck-and-neck battle with their Catholic school counterparts from start to finish, but Vivian Shinall’s two goals, Claire Van der Heide’s game-winning goal, and Claire Grazzini’s key saves at important times throughout the game was the deciding factor for the Red Knights as they move on to the State A Championship on Thursday.

Heading into the matchup, the girls had just blanked the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles 6-0 in the State A Quarterfinal four days earlier in St. Cloud.  The team had gotten four goals from junior Vivian Shinall, one from junior Ingrid Lundberg, and another from sophomore Amanda Cassidy.  Cassidy also had two assists in the game, while juniors Claire van der Heide and Maddie Stoks each had one, and senior captain Maren Noble had another.  Senior goalie Amira Carter faced a relatively easy night in net, as the Eagles’ offense was not able to put any pressure on the Red Knights’ defense.

Early on, Hill-Murray had a slight advantage, as the ball was in the BSM zone for most of the first 20 minutes.  With 19:19 to go in the first half, a Pioneer forward headed the ball off a corner kick into the net for a 1-0 lead.  Less than four minutes later, the Red Knights tied the game at 1 goal apiece when Cassidy beat the goalkeeper and fed Shinall the ball, who buried it into the net for her fifth goal of the State A Tournament.

For the remainder of the first half both offenses were stagnant until Shinall scored her second goal of the game–and her sixth of the tournament–to make it 2-1 Red Knights with 0:59 left in the first half.  This time she was assisted by Noble.  After Carter was in net for the Quarterfinal matchup, BSM went with junior Claire Grazzini to start as goalkeeper.  Grazzini made several key saves throughout the first half that kept the momentum with the Red Knights.

To start out the second half, less than six minutes passed before Hill-Murray beat Grazzini to make it 2-2 with 34:07 left in regulation.  Neither team was able to create many scoring opportunities for the following 10 minutes.  With 24:13 to go in the second half, Cassidy appeared to have suffered a minor injury as she required assistance in walking off the field, and she was replaced by freshman Frida Fortier.  Grazzini again made some remarkable saves in the first part of the second half, with one in particular happening almost 20:00 into the period where Grazzini had to lunge forward to steal the ball from the opponent past the 10-yard line.

After Cassidy returned to the game with 12:10 to go in regulation, the Red Knights had been pushing the ball into the Hill-Murray zone for much of the previous 10 minutes.  The Red Knights nearly scored with 10:00 remaining in the second half, as it was a race between Shinall and the Hill-Murray goalkeeper to get to the loose ball, but a a Pioneer defender funneled it out of bounds to avert disaster.

With less than three minutes remaining, Maddie Stoks unleashed a corner kick towards the net, which Claire Van der Heide delivered into the net to give the Red Knights a 3-2 lead.  BSM would go on to run out the clock, and the date would be set for a matchup in the State A Championship on Thursday.