August 5, 2010 at 10:23 a.m.

The Wildvikings win state tournament with unlikely foot

The Wildvikings win state tournament with unlikely foot
The Wildvikings win state tournament with unlikely foot

The Chisago Lakes/North Branch U17 Classic 3 Boys soccer team beat Red Wing 1-0 last Wednesday, July 27 at Coon Rapids to win the state tournament. The Wildvikings (the team is made up of about half Chisago Lakes/North Branch players, half North Branch players and a player or two from Osceola) tied their first state tournament game, won the second and won a tense shootout to get to the championship game. All of the Wildviking state tournament games were played at the Coon Rapids soccer complex.

Chisago Lakes/North Branch 1, Mankato 1

With the Wildvikings trailing 1-0 and five minutes left in the opening game of the state tournament, Asher Elmquist had the ball on the left edge of the Mankato penalty box just few feet from the goal line. He took the ball straight at the goalkeeper and shot from about ten feet away. The ball squeezed between the keeper and the goalpost and hit the far side of the net, tying the game at 1-1. "At halftime," said Elmquist, "Coach Fitzer, who is a goalkeeper, told us to take the ball right at the keeper if we found ourselves with an opening. He said the hardest thing for a keeper to deal with is someone coming right at them with the ball, especially when the keeper is backing up. I tried it and it worked!"

Mankato scored on a 35 yard free kick that made it just under the crossbar midway through the first half to take a 1-0 lead. Early in the second half, Mankato nearly scored its second goal. After a corner kick, the ball bounced around and was in the air near the right side of the net. A Wildviking defender, attempting to knock the ball away, instead headed it past Wildviking goalkeeper Kyle Buchanan toward the upper right corner of the net. But Zach Mattson, standing at the right post, headed the ball away to keep the score at 1-0.

Chisago Lakes/North Branch 5, Chaska 0

Wildviking Tyler Ertl scored 25 seconds into the state tournament game against Chaska last Sunday, July 25 and the Wildvikings never looked back as they crushed Chaska 5-0. The Wildvikings built a 4-0 halftime lead and the stifling Wildviking defense allowed Chaska very few scoring opportunities throughout the game.

Ertl added another goal later in the game. Tony Ceroll scored two goals and Asher Elmquist added one.

Shootout: Chisago Lakes/North Branch 2, Mankato 0

Kyle Buchanan's diving save on the fourth Mankato shot gave the Wildvikings a shootout win and sent the Wildvikings to the state tournament championship game against Red Wing.

Since Chisago Lakes/North Branch and Mankato were tied after their round robin games, the teams had to show up an hour before the Wednesday, July 28 championship game for a shootout to see who would play Red Wing for the championship. The loser of the shootout would have to head back home.

Asher Elmquist took the first shot for the Wildvikings and the Mankato goalkeeper made a nice save. The first Mankato shooter missed the net wide. Tyler Sager ripped a low shot inside the right post, beating the diving keeper to give the Wildvikings a 1-0 lead. The next Mankato shooter fired it right at Wildviking keeper Kyle Buchanan for an easy save. Hans Gulbranson then missed the net and the Wildvikings still led 1-0.

The next shooter, the player who scored the goal against the Wildvikings in the opening round, shot toward the right side of the net. The ball made it past Buchanan, but hit the post and bounced back out. Zach Mattson then ripped his shot into the lower left corner of the net to put the Wildvikings up 2-0.

The fourth Mankato shooter ripped a low shot toward the inside of the right post. Buchanan dove, stretched full out and got his fingers on the ball, knocking it away and sealing the shootout win. The Wildvikings celebrated and headed over to the field for the state championship game while the dejected Mankato squad headed for their cars and a long two hour ride home.

Chisago Lakes/North Branch 1, Red Wing 0

Asher Elmquist scored to put the Wildvikings up 1-0 midway through the second half. The Wildviking defense and goalkeeper smothered any subsequent Red Wing scoring opportunities, and the Wildvikings piled on each other in celebration as they won the U17 Classic 3 Boys state tournament 1-0 last Wednesday, July 28.

The Wildvikings outplayed Red Wing throughout the game, but had trouble getting on the scoreboard. Elmquist had a great scoring opportunity in the first half. But the shot hit the crossbar and the ball bounded away harmlessly.

But Elmquist and the Wildvikings kept at it. Midway through the second half, Elmquist ripped a high shot toward the middle of the net from about 20 yards out. The Red Wing goalie leaped and got his fingers on it, but he wasn't able to tip it high enough and the ball snuck under the crossbar for the game-winner.

"I am really proud of the way our guys played this year," said Wildviking head coach Steve Jones. "We didn't know what we had at the beginning, but the kids from all three areas - Chisago Lakes, North Branch and Osceola -- played well together. They had an undefeated season, going 23-0-1 and played well under pressure in the state tournament games and shootout. It will be fun to watch a lot of these guys play against each other during the fall high school soccer season."


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