Boys soccer: Stillwater advances with OT victory

Gazette photo by Scott Ertle
Stillwater senior Kevin Meads, shown during the first half of Thursday’s Section 4AA quarterfinal victory over St. Paul Central, notched the game-winning goal in the second overtime at Pony Stadium. The victory sends the Ponies into Saturday’s semifinals, where they will host third-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall at 7 p.m.

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Eight wasn’t enough for the Stillwater boys’ soccer team on Thursday, but a ninth corner kick led to the game-winner in the second overtime period as the Ponies held off St. Paul Central 1-0 in the Section 4AA quarterfinals at Pony Stadium.

The Minutemen upset Stillwater 1-0 in double overtime in the quarterfinals a year ago, but this time the Ponies (12-1-4) survived to face third-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall in Saturday’s semifinals at 7 p.m.

“(Central coach Jorey Erickson’s) teams just seem to put it together for us,” Ponies coach Phil Johnson said. “They’re also quite young, so kudos to them. They had a game plan that they wanted to hunker back and knock it to the corner and it almost went to a shoot-out.”

It was senior Kevin Meads who saved the day one minute into the second overtime, knocking in a corner kick by Roma Devine that landed among a group of players where Meads, a center back, left-footed it past goalkeeper Bryn Shank for the only golden goal.

“It was like, who’s going to touch it in the scrum and he got to it first,” Johnson said. “Kevin has been the heart and soul of this team and he doesn’t want it to end.”

Stillwater held a 10-5 advantage in shots on goal, but was unable to convert on numerous strong scoring chances prior to Meads’ game-winner.

“We did not finish the opportunities we had,” Johnson said. “We had several boys in the six with the ball at their foot or bouncing right there that could have finished. This was missed final touches, early and throughout the game, but that didn’t stop us from working.”

The coach credited midfielders Devine, Tashi Tsering and Nathan Purdie, in his first game back from a heel injury, with strong games and Patrick Roth, who helped create that final corner kick while facing heavy pressure from the Minutemen all night.

“I think our defense can be commended. I thought Sam Keran really stepped up his defending game and then the three guys in the midfield are really to be commended,” Johnson said.

Ben Wilhelm finished with five saves in goal for the Ponies, who carry a 12-game unbeaten streak in Saturday’s game against the Cretin-Derham Hall, which Stillwater defeated 2-1 on Sept. 27.


St. Paul Central            0            0            0            0            —            0

Stillwater            0            0            0            1            —            1



St — 1:00 — Kevin Meads (Roma Devine)


Shots on goal — SPC: 5; St: 10.

Corner kicks — SPC: 1; St: 9.

Fouls — SPC: 13; St: 4.

Goalie saves — SPC: Bryn Shank 9; St: Ben Wilhelm 5.


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Section 4AA



North St. Paul 2, White Bear Lake 0

East Ridge 4, Woodbury 1

Cretin-Derham Hall 3, H.-Murray 0

Stillwater 1, St. Paul Central 0 (OT)


Saturday’s semifinals

#5 East Ridge at #1 North St. Paul

#3 Cretin-Derham Hall at #2 Stillwater


Finals — Tuesday, Oct. 16