Irondale girls soccer pulls off one upset, benefits from another

As Tuesday's Section 5AA girls soccer playoff match between Irondale and Mounds View progressed into the final minutes of the second half, pressbox staff at Mustang Stadium began reviewing the rules for overtime. With the game a scoreless tie, it appeared 80 minutes of regulation soccer wasn't going to be enough to decide the outcome.

But as the scoreboard clock began to tick down in tenths of a second for the final minute, Irondale found itself with an opportunity in the Mounds View zone. Sophomore Meghan Pieper ended up with the ball near the top of the penalty area and drilled a shot into the lower right corner of the goal.

Forty seconds later when the final horn sounded, the fifth-seeded Knights had a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Mounds View and a trip to the section semifinals.

"We just kept trying to hit far post and three times none of them worked," said Irondale head coach Meghan Tripp. "The last time it got through and we were able to have one of our strong offensive players right on it. She just kind of bullied her way through and got it in the net."

Pieper's goal sends Irondale to Thursday's section semifinals, a surprise in itself considering the seeds and the Knights' lack of recent playoff success. The last time Irondale advanced to the semifinals was in 2002 following a 5-1 win over Roseville in the quarterfinals.

"For the last few years, we've been down but we've been rebuilding back," Tripp said. "We've kind of hit our stride this season. We got second in conference and we built on that confidence. We were able to finish tonight by building on that confidence all season."

The even bigger surprise, however, is the location of Thursday's game. Irondale is hosting the semifinal thanks to Osseo's 3-2, overtime upset of top-seeded and second-ranked Maple Grove. Osseo, the eighth seed, takes on the Knights at Wendt Stadium at 7 p.m.

Thursday's Osseo-Irondale winner advances to the section final on Oct. 16 at either second-seeded and fourth-ranked Centennial or third-seeded Roseville.

SLP/SAV

The Panthers saw their season come to end on Tuesday at the hands of Centennial. The Cougars beat SLP/SAV 6-1.

Section 5AA girls soccer playoffs Quarterfinals Osseo 3, Maple Grove 2, OT Irondale 1, Mounds View 0 Roseville 1, Champlin Park 0, shootout Centennial 6, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village 1

Semifinals, Thursday, 7 p.m. Osseo at Irondale Roseville at Centennial

Championship, Oct. 16

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