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Seasoned St. Paul Academy ends St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura's girls soccer season

St. Paul Academy mustered the game's only goal, it coming late in the first half as it beat first-time state soccer entrant St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura 1-0.

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The St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura girls soccer team celebrates after defeating Winona Cotter 2-1 in the Section 1A championship match on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Dover-Eyota High School in Eyota. The Saints saw their season end on Thursday night, falling in the Class A state quarterfinals to St. Paul Academy at Eden Prairie High School.
Guy N. Limbeck / Post Bulletin
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EDEN PRAIRIE — The experience more than lived up to the expectations of the St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura girls soccer team.

That despite the Saints not ending up with the win as they took on St. Paul Academy in the Class A girls state quarterfinals at Eden Prairie High School on Thursday night.

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St. Paul Academy, fresh off slipping past the top team in the state in its section final game — Minnehaha Academy — also had just enough to beat SCLA.

The Spartans got a goal with 13 minutes left in regulation and that was all that was necessary for them to talk away a winner, 1-0.

St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura was at state for the first time in school history. For the first half, the unseeded Saints didn’t look like novices against No. 3 seed SPA. The Saints’ defense was stellar as it has been all season, allowing the Spartans zero good looks and just a few harmless shots on goal.

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St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura defenders to track down St. Paul Academy star Sawyer Bollinger Danielson during the Class A state girls soccer quarterfinals on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, at Eden Prairie High School. SPA beat the Saints 2-1.
Pat Ruff / Post Bulletin

But that didn’t quite hold up after intermission. SPA, turning up its energy a notch, spent the vast majority of the final 40 minutes in SCLA’s end of the field. It also spent it brewing decent scoring chances.

Finally, with 13 minutes remaining, it made one count. SPA finally ended a scoreless tie with a lasered shot.

It came off the foot of Adrea Gist as she stood centered in the middle of the field and just 15 yards from Saints star goaltender Makadyn Gust. The shot was blistered. Gust lunged to stop it, but to no avail. It billowed the back of the right portion of the net.

That was one of seven shots generated by SPA the second half, while SCLA had just two.

With it, SPA is moving on to the semifinals and St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura is packing its gear, done for the season.

But SCLA coach Taige Puetz doesn’t want the Saints’ equipment put away for long. And she’s quite sure it won’t be. This taste of playing in a state tournament was too delicious for that.

SCLA players loved everything about it.

“To be here, for the first time, it was really exhilarating,” SCLA junior Payton Schiebel said. “We wanted to come here and give it our all, and I think we did that. Our fans and our community, they were great, all of them behind us.”

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Gust, the team’s junior goaltender, sure left the field energized.

“I think this just pumps us up and gets us ready to play more,” Gust said with a broad smile. “I think I could go play another couple of soccer games right now.”

Puetz regarded this season as a huge step taken by her team, which finished 13-3-2. That included a pair of wins over traditional power Winona Cotter and a tie with another perennial force, Lourdes.

Now, her wish is for her team not to settle for such feats. The Saints have tasted state, but the taste was short lived, a first-round exit.

Puetz knows what she wants. It’s for her Saints to take another leap. She knows what will be required.

“I hope our players understand the work that it took to get her and also the work that will be needed to take the next step,” she said. “The next step will require even more commitment from the girls. We’ll have a lot of players returning next year, so that’s good. But now it’s time for even more hard work and grit.”

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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