Elk River-Zimmerman lost its regular-season finale to Maple Grove 3-1 on Thursday evening, in a match of two of the four top-ten ranked teams in the Northwest Suburban Confernce.
The Elks saw a nine-game unbeaten streak snapped after going 7-0-2 since Sept. 7.
They led 1-0 at the half on a corner-kick goal by Joey Benz, whose shot caromed off a Crimson defender and into the net.
However, the Crimson dominated the second half with three goals, the first shaky half of soccer the Elks have played all season. The Elks allowed just 10 goals in 15 games and the Crimson got three of them in one half.
It could have been worse but goalie Cody Christ was able to stop a penalty kick with a dive to his left.
The Elks, who tied a struggling Champlin Park team 0-0 on Tuesday, slipped to fourth place in the 11-team conference after having an outside shot at the title entering the final week.
Top-ranked Blaine was 7-0-1 with two games left, followed by No. 4 Anoka 7-2-0 with one game left, No. 7 Maple Grove 7-2-1 and the No. 6 Elks 6-2-2. (These are QRF rankings.) Results of other Thursday night games were not posted as of this report.
The Elks will close the regular season at Eden Prairie (4-7-4) on Saturday at noon.