by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
(Written with reports from John Sherman from the site.)
In a state tournament duel of two teams depending heavily on their goalkeepers, the Edina Hornets prevailed 1-0 over Elk River-Zimmerman in Cottage Grove on Thursday evening.
Trip Adams had the lone goal, in the first half, and Tanner Morrison protected the lead with big saves in the second half.
The Hornets (15-2-3) advanced to the Class AA semifinals and sent the Elks home with a 13-4-3 mark.
Elk coach Aaron Lindquist was upbeat despite the loss.
“Our motto all year has been: Nobody outworks us,” said Lindquist. “It was fun to be a part of a match like this.”
Both teams kept pressure off the goalies for the most part but the netminders sparkled when it came. Morrison made three saves. The Elks’ Cody Christ stopped four of five shots on goal.
The Elks came into the state tourney with 11 shutouts, but Adams got one past Christ early, in the ninth minute. Adams initiated a four-pass combination that ended with the ball coming back to him for a shot in front of the goal from 15 yards. He hit the lower right corner. That would be all Edina could get but was all they needed.
The Elks, down 1-0 at the break, ramped up the pressure after halftime.
“I told our guys at halftime,” said Lindquist, “you have to give it everything you’ve got.”
Facing a strong attack in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Morrison made two saves on a flurry in front of the net, then a diving save on a header.
“Elk River’s forwards were all over us the whole time,” said Hornet defender Nick Vogt. “They really put the pressure on us early in the second half.”
Edina had a slight edge in possession the first half. Possession was about even in the second half.
“It was a great match,” said Edina coach Dave Jenson. “We knew Elk River would play really hard, and they did. They are one of the better teams we’ve played this season.”
In Elk River’s seventh state tournament in boys soccer, it lasted just one match.
“It is always hard when the end of the season comes, especially when you have as many seniors as we do,” said Lindquist. “Our players should hold their heads up.”
The Elk seniors bowing out at “state” were Christ, Storm Heyer, Joey Benz, Brandon Friffin, Jordan Griffin, Grant Tesdahl, Emmanuel Kai, Rob Burger, and Ryan Stefano.