Girls soccer: Bears trip up Stillwater to claim SEC crown

WHITE BEAR LAKE — In a battle of Suburban East Conference girls soccer unbeatens, White Bear Lake jumped in front early and never looked back while upending Stillwater 4-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

It was the first conference setback for the reigning conference champion Ponies (7-1-0 SECC, 11-2-1), who also had their nine-game winning streak snapped.

“White Bear Lake has a very good team,” said Ponies coach Mike Huber, whose team has nonconference games remaining against Lakeville North and Moorhead before playing in the Section 4AA quarterfinals on Thursday, Oct. 12. “I don’t like losing a game like this, but I would rather have it be in a game like this than the last game of the season so we can make some improvements.”

Seeding for the section tourney will be announced on Sunday, Oct. 7 and White Bear Lake and Stillwater will likely earn the top two seeds.

The Ponies won the conference a year ago, but was stopped by East Ridge in the section finals.

“Even being eliminated from winning the conference — and if I had a chance I’d like to do both — but I’ll take the section championship any day,” Huber said.

Despite not having any conference games remaining, the Ponies could earn a share of the conference title if Park (1-4-2, 4-6-4) was able to upset the Bears on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Claire Odmark scored the first of her two goals in the seventh minute as the Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead over Stillwater. Erika Townley followed with a goal in the 16th minute to provide a two-goal advantage.

It marked the first time all season the Ponies have trailed by two goals in a game.

“It was back and forth in the first half and we had three significant scoring chances,” Huber said. “They didn’t have many more chances than we did in the first half, but we didn’t finish and the couple of chances they had they did.”

Odmark scored her team-leading 18th goal six minutes into the second half and Townley struck again just six minutes after that as the Bears built a 4-0 lead.

“We told the girls this is who is going to score and how they’re going to score and that’s exactly how they scored all four goals,” Huber said. “White Bear Lake is very good on set plays, so we talked about not giving up on free kicks and two of their goals came on free kicks. They have two forwards that are really good and we had to keep an eye on them, and those are the two that scored.”

Halle Peterson eventually broke through with a goal for Stillwater in the 71st minute on an assist from Dara Andringa. Then in the 78th minute, Hannah Beech scored on a pass from Kalley Taverna to close within 4-2.

“We were looking forward to the game for so long, I think we over thought the game coming into it,” Huber said. “We made it bigger in our minds than it really was and we just came out playing very scared and very hesitant. It was probably the worst game we’ve played this year. The next time we play them we need to not be so timid and just really play hard from the opening whistle.”

Stillwater 0 2 — 2

White Bear Lake 2 2 — 4

WBL — 7:00 — Claire Odmark (Mackenzie Ternes)

WBL — 16:00 — Erika Townley

WBL — 46:00 — Claire Odmark (Mackenzie Ternes)

WBL — 52:00 — Erika Townley

St — 71:00 — Halle Peterson (Dara Andringa)

St — 78:00 — Hannah Beech (Kalley Taverna)

Shots on goal — St: 7; WBL: 8.

Corner kicks — St: 3; WBL: 4.

Fouls — St: 10; WBL: 11.

Goalie saves — St: Evie Kohn 4; WBL: NA 5.

Stillwater 2, Burnsville 1

At Burnsville, Abby Begin scored on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute to break a 1-all tie as Stillwater knocked off state-ranked Burnsville 2-1 in a nonconference game on Saturday, Sept. 30.

“Overall, it was a pretty even game,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “Burnsville is one of the better teams we’ve seen this year. They have some quick forwards and both teams had a good share of chances, but at the same time both teams were very good defensively as well.”

Halle Peterson opened the scoring in the seventh minute on an assist by Dara Andringa.

The Blaze, who lead the South Suburban Conference standings, answered in the 13th minute with a goal from Maya Hansen.

Begin’s game-winner occurred after Olivia Knox was knocked down in the box.

“Abby has taken three or four penalty kicks this year and she’s made every one,” Huber said. “She’s pretty calm and collected and didn’t let the pressure get to her. She does a good job putting it in the back of the net.”

Evie Kohn finished with nine saves in goal for the Ponies, who held a 14-10 advantage in shots on goal.

“That was our third tough game in a five-day period and that was a very good win,” Huber said.

Stillwater 2 0 — 2

Burnsville 1 0 — 1

St — 7:00 — Halle Peterson (Dara Andringa)

Bur — 13:00 — Maya Hansen (Morgan Keirstead)

St — 32:00 — Abby Begin

Shots on goal — St: 14; Bur: 10.

Corner kicks — St: 5; Bur: 2.

Fouls — St: 7; Bur: 8.

Goalie saves — St: Evie Kohn 9; Bur: Kailey Rahier 12.

Stillwater 3, Mounds View 1

At Arden Hills, the Ponies scored in the first three minutes of each half on the way to a 3-1 conference victory at Mounds View on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Hannah Beech scored in the second minute of the opening half on an assist from Olivia Knox, who also delivered two second-half goals for Stillwater.

“Scoring that early goal was a huge bonus,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “It’s something we’re not accustomed to most of the year, but especially against a good team like Mounds View it sure sets the pace.”

Sara Wendt scored early in the second half for the Mustangs, but Knox answered just a minute later for the Ponies to provide a 2-1 lead.

“Especially when they scored early in the second half, it was great that we responded as quickly as we did otherwise I think we would have been in for a battle the rest of the half,” Huber said.

Knox scored her second goal in the 72nd minute with an assist from Dara Andringa.

“I would say overall it was probably one of the best games we’ve played this year,” Huber said. “Our mids and forwards were aggressive winning the ball back. They have a couple pretty good forwards and defensively we held them in check most of the game. From front to back, it was probably the best overall game we’ve played for 80 minutes this year.”

Stillwater 1 2 — 3

Mounds View 0 1 — 1

St — 2:00 — Hannah Beech (Olivia Knox)

MV — 42:00 — Sara Wendt

St — 43:00 — Knox (Julia Bernard)

St — 72:00 — Knox (Dara Andringa)

Shots on goal — St: 12; MV: 7.

Corner kicks — St: 1; MV: 2.

Fouls — St: 6; MV: 8.

Goalie saves — St: Evie Kohn 6; MV: NA 8.