Lakeville North falls to Eden Prairie in state semifinals for second consecutive year

The Eden Prairie girls’ soccer team defeated the Panthers 1-0, winning the shoot-out 4-2

For 54 days, no team put the ball in the Lakeville North girls’ soccer team’s net. 

That is until the Class 2A state semifinal match against Eden Prairie went into a shoot-out period.

Holding on for the 100 minutes, No. 5 seed Eden Prairie won the shoot-out 4-2, propelling itself to the Class 2A girls’ state soccer championship for the second consecutive year with a 1-0 victory over No. 1 seed Lakeville North. The Eagles defeated Lakeville North 2-0 in the state semifinals last season.

Lakeville North junior goalkeeper Taylor Lock gave up three goals all season, which gained her second team all-state recognition. But, Lock will likely have a tarnished view of her special season because of the four scores she gave up in the shoot-out period.

“It is a crap shoot as a goalkeeper,” said Panthers’ coach Jeremiah Johnson, a former goalkeeper himself. “You go out there and hope you can save one. They saved two.”

Eden Prairie goalkeeper Lindsay Eliasen had to make a few more saves than two before the shoot-out. The Lakeville North offense generated consistent pressure on the Eagles’ net most of the game, registering 17 shots while Eden Prairie registered three.

The Panthers also had seven corner kicks over the course of the 100 minutes, coming close to scoring on most of them. The ball, however, never went into the net.

“It’s very frustrating,” Johnson said. “We had plenty of opportunities.”

From jumping up to stop high kicks to diving to stop a late kick from Lauren Witte—one of Lakeville North’s leading scorers—Eliasen kept the Eagles in the game, holding on until the shoot-out period.

Neither team made it the 100 minutes fully intact. Eden Prairie lost two players because of collisions. Lakeville North lost second team all-state midfielder Haley Steel with what appeared to be a head injury, and was without senior midfielder Hannah Cade, who was voted Ms. Soccer for 2015, for part of the game because of a collision.

Cade went out with a large gash in her head, but came back in as quickly as possible, which didn’t surprise Johnson.

“She would be back on the field if a limb were partially torn off,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter (to her).”

Her efforts helped the surging Panthers who looked as if they would score, but the Lakeville North offense couldn’t convert to keep the game from going to a shoot-out.

Although the loss pains the Panthers, Johnson hopes his players will grow as people from it.

“You hope they can take this experience and reflect on this next year, in five years, (in) 10 years or 20 years down the road, whether they are playing in college or whether they are playing a different sport,” Johnson said. “Whether you’re on a project for the company you work for or whether you’re being a mom to a kid who is in a similar situation, you are going to be able to reflect on this experience. You can still take a lot from this even though it stings.”