State girls soccer: Maple Grove takes down White Bear Lake to advance to semifinals

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Maple Grove took down White Bear Lake 2-1 in a Class 3A state girls quarterfinal showdown Thursday night in Edina.

The first half had its fair share of action. The Crimson struck first, taking the lead in the 21st minute thanks to a goal from freshman Jessica Lee. They then padded their lead just four minutes later after a strike from sophomore Kiera Gill.

White Bear Lake answered with a goal of its own with three minutes left in the half when junior Jenna Maloy found the back of the Crimson net. The Bears put themselves within striking distance entering the second half.

But there was a big change of pace after the break. Both teams played stifling defense, and neither got any good shots at the goal. As both teams held the other scoreless, the Crimson outlasted the Bears and held onto their one-goal advantage the rest of the game.

The win comes as a bit of an upset for Maple Grove, which was unseeded in the tournament with White Bear Lake being seeded third. Maple Grove coach Jean-Yves Viardin said that it was a team win, like all the other wins they’ve had.

“It’s about us, not any individual players,” Viardin said. “We had some girls taking themselves out in the second half. The deal was, if you’re tired and you feel like you can’t do your job, don’t stay out there. So they put out a great team effort, great team game. We don’t have any superstars. Everything we do is collective. And today, with the weather and everything, it was just a lot of hard work and sticking to the game plan.”

White Bear Lake coach John Dierkhising congratulated his team on a successful season, but was disappointed to see it come to an end.

“I think we were super excited to get here, and finally break through Section 4,” Dierkhising said. “We’ve had a lot of good teams the last seven or eight years who didn’t get to this point, just due to competition. I don’t know if we were happy with the way we executed tonight. I don’t think we played up to our standards, just overall, just little stuff here and there, stuff that we expect to see just wasn’t on tonight. Whether it was a missed read, or a bad pass, just wasn’t our night. It’s a real bummer, because that’s a good group of girls, they have a lot of talent.”

Maple Grove moves on to play Wayzata, which holds the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The two teams will face off at 10 a.m. on Halloween at U.S. Bank Stadium. Viardin said the team is excited to meet the challenge head on and use its same team approach as it prepares for the Trojans.

“It’s playoff time, baby,” he said. “Anyone can win.”

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