The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 28, 2013

West unable to fend off KNIGHTS' ATTACK

Scarlets fall in state soccer semifinals

By Chad Courrier

---- — MINNEAPOLIS — The Benilde-St. Margaret's attackers just kept coming and coming.

Eventually, the Mankato West defense, which was very good early, had some holes, and senior goalkeeper Katie Lauer, who made some spectacular saves, couldn't stop them all.

"I was proud of how hard we worked," senior defender McKenna Peters. "That wasn't an easy team to play against. They moved a lot, and they knew where they wanted to pass. That's probably the first time we've played a team that moved the ball so quickly."

No. 2 seed Benilde-St. Margaret's defeated Mankato West 5-1 in the semifinals of the Class A girls soccer tournament Monday at Metrodome. Benilde-St. Marget's, which was ranked No. 1 in the state coaches poll most of the season, had a 14-4 advantage in shots on goal.

"You're always disappointed when you lose, but it's bittersweet," West coach Crissy Makela said. "We have a team that made it to the Dome, which is something new for our program, and to get beat by a team like Benilde isn't bad. But at the same time, it's not OK to lose."

The possession was pretty even early, but the West defense had a bad break when a clearing pass hit the Benilde attacker and deflected toward the goal. Lauer didn't have much of a chance on the close-range shot.

"I think we stepped back after they scored," Peters said. "When they get you down, they're strong. It was nice to get back in it at the end and have some fun."

Benilde-St. Margaret's pressure took its toll in the 32nd minute as the lead increased to 2-0. By halftime, Benilde-St. Margaret's had nine shots on goal, and a couple of others that hit the post, while the Scarlets had none.

Benilde-St. Margaret's scored three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

"Their passing was really on," Lauer said. "I didn't feel like we really played our game. I'm happy that we came back in the second half."

West, which defeated La Crescent 5-2 in the quarterfinals, scored on its first shot on goal, with Maddy Burandt scoring from 40 yards out with 28:31 to play. It was her 31st goal of the season, building on her school record.

"It was nice to get that zero off (the scoreboard)," Makela said. "We hadn't shot up to that point, and we had (three) more after that."

Lauer ended up with nine saves. Burandt had three of West's four shots on goal, and Hannah Fox had the other.

Benilde-St. Margaret's (17-3-1) plays for the state championship at 10 a.m. Thursday against Blake. West (13-7-2) plays for third place at 10 a.m. today at Metrodome, facing Totino Grace. Blake won the other semifinal 2-0.

"I think we can take the way we played in the second half and be ready to go," Lauer said. "It will be fun. We'll be ready to end the seaosn with a win."