October 21, 2010 at 8:49 a.m.
Marissa Alliegro scored the game's first goal early in the second half, and it proved to be all the top-seeded Wildcats would need. They shut out the ninth-seeded Vikings 2-0 in the Section 7A girls' soccer game last Saturday, October 16 at Chisago Lakes to advance to the semifinal game against fourth-seeded Cloquet on Tuesday, October 19 at Chisago Lakes. That game had not been played when this edition of the Chisago County Press went to press.
Both teams played a strong first half. The Vikings had the best scoring opportunity. Viking sophomore forward Bayley Ertl tapped a weak shot toward the net that got behind Wildcat goalkeeper senior Mary Burch. Just before the ball crossed the goal line, Wildcat Megan Karwand came sprinting in and bicycle kicked the ball away from the goal, leaving the North Branch fans stunned and the Chisago Lakes fans cheering. The teams went into halftime tied 0-0.
Similar to this year's earlier meeting between the two rivals, the Wildcats came out strong and dominated play in the second half. Early in the half, Wildcat forward Cassie Trandahl took the ball from midfield to the end line and crossed the ball to junior forward Marissa Alliegro, who tapped the ball in from close range. The Wildcats added some insurance at the 20 minute mark. Freshman Kara Herr made the most of her short minutes as she hustled to play a ball on goal to a flying Rachel Diers. A Viking defender was closely guarding Diers and the defender's momentum knocked the ball in goal at point blank range. The Wildcats held on the rest of the way, winning 2-0 and advancing to the section semifinals for the first time in the history of the Chisago Lakes girls' soccer program.
If the Wildcats were able to beat fourth-seeded Cloquet on Tuesday, October 19 at Chisago Lakes, they will play the winner of the game between second -seeded Esko and sixth-seeded Hermantown in the section championship game tonight at 7 p.m. at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
North Branch 3, Duluth Marshall 0
The seventh-seeded Vikings were forced to travel north to play eighth-seeded Duluth Marshall because of the northern bias in Section 7A in the opening round of the section playoffs. The Vikings took to the field and proved they were the better team, beating the Hilltoppers 3-0 last Thursday, October 14 to advance to last Saturday's quarterfinal game at Chisago Lakes.