Andover shares state soccer hardware with Edina

A 1-1 draw in the Class AA state boys’ soccer third-place game gave Andover (15-5-2) and Edina (15-3-4) a share of the trophy during the final state soccer tournament to be played at Mall of America Field Oct. 30.

Both goals were scored in the opening half and Andover coach John Schlitchmann described both sides as “tired and disappointed” one day after losing in the state semifinal games.

Andover’s Emmanuel Ekunseitan, left, tries to challenge North’s Taylor Bruns, right, for the ball during the second half of the Class AA state semifinal game Oct. 28.

Andover’s Emmanuel Ekunseitan, left, tries to challenge North’s Taylor Bruns, right, for the ball during the second half of the Class AA state semifinal game Oct. 28.Photo by Jason Olson

“They certainly played hard, but it certainly wasn’t a game with huge saves or scoring opportunities,” he said.

Andover junior defender Alex Terwilliger sent a 45-yard crossing pass to senior attacker Andrew Bird, who volleyed into the net from near the edge of the penalty box for the first goal of the game in the 24th minute.

Edina equalized 13 minutes later on a play that began with a short corner kick. Edina’s Reza Dehkordi dribbled along the goal line from the corner before finding senior teammate Nick Vogt with a pass that he blasted past Huskies keeper Colton Syler for the goal. Syler made one save, while his Hornets counterpart Tanner Morrison made two saves.

Bird joined teammates Emmanuel Ekunseitan and Ben Nivala on the Class AA boys’ soccer all-tournament team.

Andover graduates a majority (11 of 23) of its roster including Bird (16 goals, nine assists), Ekunseitan (11 goals, six assists), Nivala and both goalkeepers, Syler and Andrew Gruenwald.

“We lose a lot of seniors and it will be a difficult task [to repeat], but we hope some guys really step up for us and develop over the next year,” Schlitchmann said. “We really enjoyed the ride and the journey.”

Junior midfielder Armin Bobaric will be looked on to be a stabilizing force in the attack along with midfielder Austin Heil and Terwilliger.

Bobaric, who played an attacking midfielder role, finished with 10 goals and six assists on the season including the overtime winner in the Section 7AA semifinal against Duluth East and he tied the score in the section final against Centennial.

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

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