Mounds View rallies to win Class 3A men’s soccer championship
Others might have been surprised that Rosemount and Mounds View were the last two teams to compete in the Class 3A men’s soccer tournament, but Rosemount coach Todd Farrington was not.
“No offense to any of the other teams and their coaches. I’m friends with a lot of them, ”Farrington said. “But when we got to know the eight teams in the state tournament, I said straight away that Mounds View was the better team. I worked with a few of their players at the Minnesota Thunder Academy. They are men and dynamite players.
The Irish entered the playoffs unannounced – no surprise, given their 4-6-3 record at the time – but Farrington and his players sensed mid-season that something was brewing. It turned into a wave that swept through them in the state championship game for the first time in school history.
Then on Saturday, two teams that were in the top 10 of the final class 3A standings staged a memorable championship match. Mounds View, down two goals in the first half, rallied for a 3-2 win at US Bank Stadium, scoring the game-winning goal with less than six minutes to go.
Mounds View has often qualified for state tournaments, but its only other championship was in 1977. Rosemount was playing in the state boys tournament for the third time.
Coming back from two goals behind is unusual in any football game, no matter when a league is on the line.
“I was telling the boys at halftime it’s one for the ages if we can pull it off and come back,” Mounds View coach Joe Warren said. “We haven’t lost two goals all year so it was foreign territory for us. (Rosemount) took it from us, which we expected, but these guys are very resilient and persistent. .
Farrington said he thought it was important for the Irish to take an early lead, which they did. Junior forward Reid Wolf ran on Andres Delgado’s cross and steered him into the corner to give the Irish the lead after 6 minutes and 27 seconds of play.
Delgado also factored in the Irishman’s second goal, sending a free kick in the direction of Rosemount’s Nicholas Wenthe and a Mounds View player, who both agreed. The ball deflected into the Mustangs’ net and was ultimately scored as an own goal.
“We knew we had to get some quick blocks on them, try to get inside their outside full-backs,” Farrington said. “We did it well in the first half.
Sam Hoyt’s 38th-minute goal allowed Mounds View to settle in – and could have destabilized Rosemount in the process.
Warren of Mounds View called him a “momentum changer.”
Farrington agreed. “There’s a big difference between a two-goal lead and a one-goal lead. We were a little scared, “he said.
Hoyt’s second goal of the game tied him with 25 minutes remaining. Towards the end of the second half, a free kick passed through a crowd of players in front of Rosemount’s goal and came to Henry Elias, who converted for the match winner.
Rosemount, who didn’t go over 0.500 before winning the Class 3A, Section 3 championship match, finished 9-7-3.
“Our coach the other day on the bus ride home commented that we have more playoff wins than we have in the entire regular season,” Farrington said with a chuckle.
Farrington and senior captain Isaac Lewis cited chemistry issues common to high school varsity teams whose players come from various club programs. “It’s the same for all teams, but for some reason we struggled to get our wheels going at the start of the year,” said Farrington. “In our game against Lakeville North (a 1-0 loss on September 16), I could see it in their eyes. They believed in what we were trying to do.
There was another loss to Farmington on September 18 before Rosemount went 7-3-1 in its last 11 games. A scoreless tie with second-ranked Lakeville South in the final game of the regular season reinforced the Irish’s belief that they could compete.
“We have become a real team,” said Wolf. “We moved the ball. We advanced as a team rather than being a one-attacker team. When we started winning, it only grew and grew.
The crowds too. An estimated 1,300 Rosemount students witnessed the Irish ‘2-1 victory over Duluth East in the Class 3A semifinals on November 3, where Lewis’ 17:10 first-half goal was been the winner. Dante Shannon also scored for the Irish.
“Thirteen hundred people here were just fantastic,” Lewis said. “It boosted our confidence – not just me, but the whole team.”
The students at Rosemount High School were hoping to see their two college football teams play in state championship games, and they almost got their wish.
The Irish girls’ Class 3A semi-final game against Centennial looked to be heading into extra time before Cougars midfielder Allyson Hamski scored from a 25-yard blast with 41 seconds left to win 1- 0 on November 4 at US Bank Stadium. The shot dipped just enough to slip under the crossbar, out of reach of Rosemount goalkeeper Jordan Hecht.
Centennial also eliminated Rosemount in overtime in the semifinals of the 2019 State Tournament.
Hecht made a diving save from a penalty kick in the 60th minute to keep the game goalless. Rosemount had a few scoring opportunities in the second half, but couldn’t get any against Cougars goaltender Jordan Metz, who made seven saves for the game.
Rosemount has averaged 4.4 goals in his first 20 games, but the scoring magic wears off at the most inopportune moment. The Irish (19-3) had not been excluded from the entire season before the national semi-finals. Then they went scoreless in a 4-0 loss to Edina in the Class 3A third place game on November 5 at West St. Paul.
The Hornets, who entered the tournament unbeaten and seeded, lost to Stillwater 3-2 in the semifinals. Stillwater defeated Centennial 1-0 in the Championship game on Saturday.
Rosemount has played in three of the state’s last five women’s tournaments, reaching at least the semi-finals in each. The Irish were second in 2016, third in 2019 and fourth this year.