The Maple Grove Crimson showed they are ready for a run for this week’s Section 5 boys’ soccer tournament when they edged defending state champion Anoka on Seniors Night Oct. 6.
Gray clouds darkened the sky over Crimson Stadium late as the Crimson stormed the field to take on the Tornados.
When Anoka threatened early, Crimson goalie Peter Shpak recorded save after save. At 20 minutes in, it looked like Shpak would keep the game scoreless with yet another save, blocking a shot by Anoka’s Blake Doyea, but Donny Guimont pounced on the rebound and put the ball in from 10 feet out.
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Crimson ramped up their attack and earned a corner kick. The Crimson’s Tyler Markve took the corner, serving a dangerous ball into the box. An Anoka player attempted to clear the ball out of the box but failed when Crimson senior captain Ryan DeBois intercepted the ball, side stepped an Anoka defender and struck in a flash to earn the goal, placing the ball to the lower left corner outside the reach of Anoka goalie Jake Peterson with just 18 seconds remaining in the half.
The score was tied 1-1 at half time.
A steady rain fell as the teams returned to the field for the second half. Fans witnessed even play through much of the second half with both teams getting scoring chances.
With 13 minutes remaining, Maple Grove’s Karpeh Zoogley played a ball from the Crimson’s own half of the field. The ball appeared to be too strong, threatening to shoot over the end line. But, DeBois sped after the ball, refusing to give up on the play. He tracked the ball down and kept it in play right on the end line. DeBois brought the ball back towards the goal, beating multiple Anoka defenders and finishing the terrific effort by sliding a shot under the charging Anoka goalie, knocking the wind out of the Tornados and putting the Crimson up 2-1.
For the remaining 12 minutes, the Crimson held off several Anoka attacks with Shpak making key saves.
The Crimson broke rival Anoka’s six-game winning streak while wrapping up its ninth win of the season — a perfect gift to give themselves on the team’s Senior Night.
“Senior night is a big night for everyone. We all just wanted to get a win,” DeBois said. “We worked hard. It was a good all around game and we got the win in this last conference game of the season.”
Maple Grove finished out its regular season schedule Saturday, Oct. 8, in a 2-2 tie with Breck, a team ranked No. 2 in the state in Class A soccer by the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association.
Eight minutes into the game, Shpak saw his first action of the afternoon knocking a shot up over the goal, preventing Breck from scoring early in the game.
The Crimson mounted their attack when Jeff Clune picked up the ball on the far sideline, sent it to DeBois, who shuttled it to fellow senior co-captain Juan Mantilla. Mantilla sent a nice crossing pass to Josh Machtemes who fired a shot that sa
iled just over the net.
Shpak was kept busy with a save at the 26-minute mark and then again at the 30-minute mark when a Breck free kick put the ball over the wall and into Shpak’s waiting arms.
At about 38 minutes into the half, the path to the first goal of the game started with Zoogley battling for the ball down the sideline forcing Breck into giving up a corner kick. Antonio Magaden took the kick, beautifully placing the ball into the box where Zoogley battled for position, got up and headed it into the net to put the Crimson up 1-0 at halftime.
The second half got off to a good start for the Crimson when at 47 minutes in, Clune wins the ball and taps it over to a waiting Magaden. Magaden crossed the ball to Mantilla, who faked left, stepped right and fired off a shot that went just wide.
The Crimson avoided a threat at the 62-minute mark when Breck took a kick from 30 yards out, placed it over the Crimson wall and on the foot of a Breck player who came one-on-one with Shpak. Shpak made one diving block to his right, scrambled to his feet and leapt high to save a Breck follow-up shot from finding the goal.
The Crimson defense, including Jack Gleckler, Dakota Weigel and Jack Dorholt played a very solid game, turning away many Breck opportunities before they materialized. At the 75-minute mark, Breck finally broke through and scored to tie up the game.
Regulation play ended in a tie. In the fourth minute of the first overtime, Crimson’s Jack Dorholt started an attack by passing the ball up the far sideline to Mantilla, who eventually threaded the ball through to DeBois. The senior captain spun inside to take the ball around the first defender, cut left around the second defender and then hit a solid left-footed shot to put the ball past the goalie into the far lower right corner of the net, putting the Crimson up 2-1.
About a minute and a half into the second overtime, the ball took an unlucky bounce off a Crimson defender, allowing a quick pass between Breck players and a goal to tie it up 2-2 for the final.
The Crimson will start the playoffs with a first round Section 8AA game on Thursday, Oct. 14 after final seedings have been determined. Fans can check out www.crimsonsoccer.org for details.