Apple Valley 1, Rochester Mayo 0
Sam Hautman scored the only goal of the game 4 minutes before half and that was plenty as the defending state champs stifled Mayo with a disciplined, solid defense to advance to the state semifinals.
Apple Valley came into state having allowed just 5 goals, the fewest of all the teams in the boys’ AA tournament. They also entered with 8 consecutive shutouts, and it wasn’t very difficult posting number 9. Mike Sikich was not really tested in the net, as the Eagles limited Mayo’s opportunities.
Apple Valley had a couple of chances early, but couldn’t strike until late in the half. Off a throw-in, the ball was crossed into the box where Hautman found it on his foot and deposited it from about 7 yards out. From there it was all Eagles. They had Mayo on their heels for most of the second half thanks to keeping the field balanced, with strong play in the midfield and on the back line. If there was one area the Eagles didn’t dominate in, it was in their attacking third. Even though they controlled the attack, they couldn’t create many quality scoring opportunities. But they only needed one, and they got that and a return trip to the dome.
Wayzata 3, Hill-Murray 0
It may not sound possible, but Wayzata found the way past Hill-Murray and Peter McKeown, the Pioneers’ 6 feet 8 inch goalie, was to go over the top. Alex Zaragoza one-timed a cross up and over McKeown to put the Trojans up 1-0 in the first half, and they cruised to the 3-0 victory.
Wayzata was very aggressive in the air in the box, challenging McKeown constantly in the early going. Once Zaragoza broke the ice, Wayzata seemed even more relaxed. It was more Wayzata in the second half, with Tim Paulson making it 2-0, and Zaragoza finishing the scoring with his second goal of the match.
The victory sets up an interesting semifinal Tuesday afternoon at the dome between Apple Valley and Wayzata. Apple Valley is looking for back-to-back titles, while Wayzata won it all in 2005. Adding to the intrigue is the contrasting attacking styles. Apple Valley really likes to play it outside, while Wayzata comes at you in the middle of the field.