There’s a new King of the Hill in Class A Boys’ Soccer, and it’s the Hilltoppers from Duluth Marshall. They hung on to defeat Blake 1-0 in the final to claim their first state championship.
After a scoreless first half, Doug Frey provided Duluth with all the offense needed in the 49th minute. Marshall had a throw-in from 10-yards out. Jesse Geary took the throw, had the ball played back to him and then he served up a pinpoint cross. Frey met the ball will his head from 4-yards out, and drove it low toward the near post past Blake goalie Tips Jackley.
Blake turned up the pressure late looking for the equalizer, but the Hilltoppers “d” and goalie Derek Randall were up to the task. With less than 9-minutes remaining, Blake Dressen got the ball in the box and Randall came out to challenge him. Dressen played it past Randall and towards the empty net, but ‘Toppers defender Mickey Huska cleared it away just 4-yards from the goal. The Marshall “d” helped Randall again, this time with a little more than 2-minutes remaining. David Brenton got loose for Blake in the box and cut towards the net. Randall came out to challenge, and Brenton centered a pass. Blake Erickson was able to save Marshall by clearing it up and over the crossbar for corner kick. Blake had one last chance with :28 left. The Bears had a free kick from 35 yards out, and Dressen drilled one high towards the net. Randall almost misjudged it and came too far off his line, but he reached back just in time to snag the shot with his finger tips. Three great chances, three strikes, and Blake was out.
The loss prevented Blake from a capping a perfect season in the perfect way. The Bears finish 20-1. Marshall wraps things up 22-2, and with the first state soccer title for a Duluth school.