by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River’s girls soccer season ended with a 1-0 loss to the Anoka Tornadoes on Saturday evening, as a corner kick goal just ten minutes into the game deciding the outcome.
Anoka had the Elks number. The Tornadoes (6-9-1) also beat the Elks 1-0 in conference. They had just three shutouts all season, but two were against the Elks.
The Tornadoes face top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville (14-1-3) in the Section 8AA finals Tuesday. Both the Elks and Tornadoes had a 1-1 tie with the Mississippi 8 champs in the regular season, so the Elks knew this was a winnable section, adding to the disappointment.
The semifinal loss gave the Elks a final 6-7-4 record and ended the career of seven seniors — Brienna Dehkes, Emily Lewis, Hana Boudlali, Chelsey Petrich, Anna Weeks, Abby McDonald, and Miranda Olson.
Several were sobbing after the game.
“A lot of them have competed at a high level for quite a while now,” said coach Brian Steuter. “As sophomores they helped get us to state by pushing those seniors. But now it’s their team, so this is hard. They will certainly be missed.”
Dehkes, the goalkeeper, said it was a fun senior year.
“It’s upsetting (to be done), but I still have me summer team to look ahead to.”
Misty-eyed, she said the season “should have been better,” pointing to three games in particular they should have won including this one.
The Elks had a slow start which Steuter attributed to being more nervous than their opponents, who got some momentum going.
On the corner kick, Brenna Goodings got the pass from Riley Dirkes and out hustled the Elks to earn an open shot which she one-timed into the net.
“In soccer you score on set plays, or on counters after taking the ball,” said Steuter. “Anoka scored on a set play and we didn’t.”
The Elks had their best chances in the first half. Weeks just missed on a header off a corner kick. Later there was a scramble in front of the goal and the Elks couldn’t get a good kick off. In the second half, the were never able to penetrate for a good shot.