Overtime winner propels Andover past Anoka in section quarterfinal

Andover sophomore Maddison Griess scored five minutes, five seconds into overtime as the No. 3 seeded Huskies (8-8-1) eliminated No. 6 Anoka 2-1 in a hard-fought Section 7AA girls’ soccer quarterfinal game at Huskies Stadium Oct. 10.

Anoka's Blair Muehlhauser reaches over Andover's Karlie Gehrig (4) during the first half of their Section 7AA quarterfinal game played at Andover. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Blair Muehlhauser reaches over Andover’s Karlie Gehrig (4) during the first half of their Section 7AA quarterfinal game played at Andover. Photo by Bill Jones

Griess was on the receiving end of a well-timed pass from the team’s leading scorer, Raquel Thelen, on a counter-attack started after junior Allie Jenkins blocked Anoka’s own attempt to spring its forward loose.

Jenkins gathered the ball and hit Thelen in stride to jumpstart the game-ending attack.

“When Raquel gets the ball I turn around and look for it,” Griess said about scoring her 10th goal of the season. “And it came and there was an opening on the right side and I stuffed it in.”

“That was a huge play because it allowed us to get numbers forward,” Andover coach Lori Snider said.

That was a theme for the Huskies all night becaus instead of methodically building the attack, Andover quickly worked the transition game and counter attack in an attempt to catch Anoka (5-10-2) on its heels. “[Thelen’s] been threading the ball through to people all season long and she finally got one to connect,” Snider said. “That’s how we’ve played all season.”

According to Snider, Andover typically play a more technical style based on the age and size of its players. “We’re not comfortable playing a real direct game like that but we did,” she said. “We didn’t want to play defense that much but Anoka forced us. They played a really great game today.”

Anoka worked hard to generate shots, but couldn’t solve the Huskies defense until the final minutes.

Anoka defenseman MacKenzie Winters, back, knocks the ball away from Andover's Raquel Thelen, right, during the first half Thursday night. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka defenseman MacKenzie Winters, back, knocks the ball away from Andover’s Raquel Thelen, right, during the first half Thursday night. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka tied the game with 3:55 left in regulation on a corner kick. Brenna Giddings, one of 12 seniors, redirected a corner kick from senior Mackenzie Winter with her head inside the post in the middle of traffic near the penalty kick spot.

Andover opened the scoring 28:28 into the contest. Griess’ ability to absolutely launch the ball on throw-ins is rare. She launched the ball to the top of the penalty box where senior Haydn Becker was waiting. Becker trapped the ball and let it drop to the ground before sending a low shot inside the far post past the outstretched arm of Anoka goalie Katherine Verkuilen.

Three minutes before Andover scored, Anoka’s Kati Beckman ran over half of the field with the ball and nearly scored. After weaving through the Huskies, Beckman fired a shot from 10 yards, but Andover goalkeeper Shelby Feringer tipped the ball off the crossbar and away from trouble.

The Tornadoes kept the pressure on and didn’t let up in the second half.

Beckman had a centering pass roll within feet of the unguarded Andover goalmouth with 11:00 left in the match.

Anoka coach Paul Anderla thought the pressure in the second half or certainly in overtime was more than enough to produce a goal. “It’s overtime. It happens,” he said, after changing the formation to an extra attacker in the second half to a 3-4-3. “It’s more offensive and you gamble defense and hats off to Andover,” Anderla said. “Let’s attack, we thought down 1-0 with the wind and sun in the second half wasn’t a bad place to be.”

Anderla said the seniors wanting to have another day of practice was another huge motivation to boost the energy level up a couple notches. But in the end, the coach said the game was a summary of their season. “Finishing has always been an issue and we work on it, but a couple balls roll one or two inches wide of the post, pretty much sums it up,” he said.

Coming into sections, Anderla felt his side really buckled down defensively, with the exception of an 8-0 loss to Mahtomedi Sept. 23. “We adopted a philosophy that if we aren’t going to score we better shut them down offensively,” he said.

Andover won the previous meeting of the season 1-0, Sept. 12.

Snider said the way Anoka came alive as the first half finished and throughout the second half frightened her. “They brought so much energy and it was clear that it was a team with a lot of seniors who played with a lot of heart and effort,” she said.

Andover travels to No. 2 Forest Lake Saturday evening in the Section 7AA semifinals.

 

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

 

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