Woodbury stunned in State title gameRoyals' 45-game game unbeaten streak comes to end in 2-1 loss to Wayzata in Class AA girls soccer championship match.
By: Tom Carothers, Woodbury Bulletin
When all was said and done, only one Minnesota high school girls soccer team was going to leave the pitch undefeated after the conclusion of the 2009 state tournament.
Would it be Woodbury — the No. 1-ranked team in not only Minnesota, but the entire nation? The one with a 45-game unbeaten streak riding into the final round?
Or would it be Wayzata, one of the few teams in Class AA to match up — and arguably even surpass — Woodbury's record of success in the sport?
Unfortunately for the favored Royals, the answer would be the latter.
The Trojans ended Woodbury's 45-game unbeaten streak by upending the tournament's No. 1 seed, 2-1, in the state championship game on Thursday afternoon at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
"It hurts, but there's no excuses," co-head coach Bill Ebertz said. "It's a championship game and they outscored us, plain and simple."
It was Woodbury's first loss since Edina pulled the feat in the 2007 State semifinals.
"We were just mis-firing today," Ebertz said. "I think Wayzata may have just had a little bit more jump."
Despite out-shooting the Trojans, 8-2, over the game's first 40 minutes, the Royals could not muster a goal as both teams went into halftime knotted in a scoreless tie.
The Royals came teeth-crackingly close to scoring twice in the frame: once as a cross-pass and shoot plat from attacker Aly DuVal to midfielder Rachel VanKeulen missed the mark by inches, the other on midfielder Caitlin Graboski's header of a corner kick from defender Kassey Kallman hit the cross-bar and bounced away.
"It was a fairly even game in general, there were just a few plays where the ball went in for them where it didn't for us," Ebertz said.
Both teams came out firing in the second half, neither wanting to incur their first defeat of the season.
"I think Wayzata was just a little bit more intense and honestly, we didn't know how to match that," Ebertz said. "Today, our intensity never built like it had in the Eagan (state semifinal) game."
Wayzata drew first blood, as Erin Kruse flicked home the ball off a long throw in to put her team up 1-0 in the 48th minute.
Woodbury returned the favor after being awarded a penalty kick after Graboski was taken down inside the box in the midst of a Royals surge on their opponent's goal.
The senior made good on her attempt, leveling the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute.
Unfortunately, that would be the final goal of the game — and the season — for the National No. 1, despite out-shooting the Trojans 13-8 for the game.
"That should have given us new life," Ebertz said. "It didn't, really."
Wayzata countered with the would-be game-winner in the 69 minute, as Taylor Wodnick finagled the ball inside and off the left post past WHS goalkeeper Brittany Cygan — who had made to large first-half saves — for a 2-1 edge.
Try as the might, Woodbury could not find one last miracle in the final 11-plus minutes. A most telling stat, the Royals went 0-for-8 on corner kicks.
"I don't know if we've had that many corner kicks before and ended up scoring off one," Ebertz said.
The eighth and final corner came with just over a minute remaining in the game, yet Kallman's kick was knocked harmlessly away, all-but clinching the Class AA championship for Wayzata.
The final moments played out with no further threat made on the Trojans net before the final horn sounded to signal a brand-new champion...
A win would have given Woodbury (21-1-1) its sixth state championship since 1998, instead, the victory earned Wayzata (18-0-5) its fifth title and first since 2002.
The team Wayzata defeated that season to win the Class AA title? Woodbury, by a score of 3-2.
"Wayzata is a very good team and they did what they had to do to win," Ebertz said. "Great teams find a way to win a game like this one, we didn't find a way."
Four Royals named to All-Tournament Team
Four members of the Woodbury squad were named to the Class AA All-Tournament Team: goalkeeper Brittany Cygan, defender Kassey Kallman, attacker Aly DuVal and midfielder Caitlin Graboski. The team is selected by a panel of coaches attending the tournament.