Blake defeated Eden Prairie for the state championship for the third straight season. Photo by Marlin Levison, Star Tribune
The Eden Prairie faithful were hoping this was the year their top-ranked squad would end a recent trend of finishing runner-up to Blake. The Bears, on the other hand, were set on making history.
The decisive moment came with 3 minutes, 37 seconds remaining, when Bears freshman midfielder Jordan Chancellor scored the eventual game-winner to give Blake an 11-10 victory over the Eagles and a third consecutive state championship Friday at Chanhassen High School.
The two schools have squared off in all six state championship matches.
"This is unreal, pretty surreal," Blake senior midfielder senior Meghan Bauer said. "We wanted to make history today [three consecutive championships], and did that."
Chancellor scored her third goal of the tournament, and first of the day, after taking a pass from fellow midfielder Lydia Sutton. She beat Eden Prairie's goalkeeper with a low shot into the lefthand corner.
"I saw the net, and went for it," Chancellor said. "Low is my favorite shot, and that's where I was aiming."
Blake senior goalkeeper Bailey Dunning made the one-goal lead stand up, making two outstanding saves in the waning moments. Dunning stopped a low shot headed for the corner on an 8-foot shot by junior midfielder Annie Thul. She then took a shot from Jessica Lagerquist off her midsection with 1:05 left.
The Bears overcame an early four-goal deficit, falling behind 5-1 in the opening 13 minutes. They pulled within one goal, 7-6, at halftime.
"I was really nervous in the beginning, and had to focus more," Dunning said. "To end my four years of playing with three consecutive championships is pretty amazing."
The Blake victory avenged a 14-8 loss to Eden Prairie in the regular-season finale for both teams.
"I don't think we were prepared as necessary for that game," said Bauer, who tied it at 10 on a free shot with 6:05 remaining. "I think we knew what to expect more today after having already played them."
Eden Prairie (17-1) took a 10-9 lead with three consecutive goals, the last by junior midfielder Emma Claire Fontenot with 7:33 remaining. She was the seventh player to score for the Eagles, who had two goals each from Thul, Lagerquist and sophomore forward Heidi Colford.
Blake (16-2) had scored the first three goals of the second half to take a 9-7 lead. Junior midfielder Nicole Kozlak concluded the spurt with her fourth goal of the day.
"This was a total team effort, Chancellor said. "We had to all play well to win it."
Apple Valley 9, Stillwater 8: Senior midfielder Hannah Seger scored five goals, including the game-winner with 1:54 remaining. She also had an assist. Apple Valley was making its first state tournament appearance.