Owatonna Girls Soccer Advances to Section Final
Owatonna took their home playoff soccer matches on the road Wednesday with their home pitch at Lincoln School covered in snow. The girls went south to Albert Lea and came home with a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime win against Northfield. The boys traveled east to Kasson and dropped a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after playing to a scoreless regulation draw with Rochester Century.
Owatonna hosts the Section 1AA final Saturday, October 24 at 3 pm at the Owatonna Soccer Complex at Lincoln. The Huskies will match-up with defending section champ Lakeville South. The eighth-seeded Cougars upset Big Nine champ Century and fifth-seed Farmington to reach the title game. South beat the Huskies in the semifinals last year.
The OHS girls fell behind 90 seconds into the match on Jim Gustafson Field, a new turf field at the Hammer Complex. Huskies leading scorer sophomore Ezra Oien leveled the game at 1-1 on a deflection of a corner kick by Emelia Marks in the tenth minute of the first half.
Northfield retook the lead seven minutes later as high-scoring sophomore Ava Stanchina of the Raiders won a battle in the penalty box and knocked the ball in. The score was 2-1 at halftime.
In the third minute of the second half, Oien won a little battle of her own in the Northfield box and drilled in her 15th goal of the season for a 2-2 tie. That score remained through the rest of regulation, but OHS put on some heavy pressure in the closing minutes. Only some fantastic saves by Northfield senior Mariana Rosas-Arenas allowed the match to go into overtime.
Owatonna's momentum carried into OT. They continued to pressure the ball and create chances. Rosas-Arenas went down with a knee injury after a collision while going for a ball. The Raiders put in a freshman in her place.
A short time later, Oien took the ball deep up the left wing and crossed it to senior Anna Herzog who clobbered the ball into the goal for her seventh marker of the season. The celebration was on.
The Huskies advance to the section finals for the first time since 2005. OHS has never won a section title in girls soccer. The section final will mark the end of the season as there will not be a state tournament.
Defensively for the Huskies, Taylor Schlauderaff did a nice job marking Stanchina for much of the match. Emma Dahnert and Hailey Fox were among others on defense that made standout plays. Greta Korbel earned the win in goal.
For the OHS boys, the shootout loss ended a great season for a senior-dominated team. The Huskies roster this year includes Riley Voracek, Nolan Burmeister, Lane Versteeg, Kaden Nelson, Alex Ulrich, Fletcher Schulz, Zach Kubicek, Caleb Schuler, Zack Kirsh, Aaron Bangs, Sam Sampson, Tristan Groh, Connor Whalen, and Asad Ali.
Each field Owatonna played on Wednesday was an artificial turf. Additionally, it did not snow in Albert Lea Tuesday. No field clearing was necessary. The OHS girls played after Bloomington Kennedy beat the Mankato West boys 1-0 in a 2A semifinal.