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Section 1A girls soccer preview

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Lourdes Hannah Anderson gets position on Stewartville's Nicole Amos and heads the ball down field during first half of their Hiawatha Valley League game Thursday afternoon September 15, 2011 at Fuad Mansour Fields in Rochester.

The top-10 ranked Rochester Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville girls soccer teams split two games during the regular season. Will the rubber match be for a trip to state?


Lourdes is ranked fourth in the last Class A state poll and Kasson-Mantorville broke into the top 10 for the first time at No. 9.

Lourdes and K-M are seeded 1-2 in the Section 1A playoffs and both have byes from the first round today. The only way a third meeting between the Eagles and KoMets can happen is if both are able to maneuver through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Thursday at Saturday.

The championship game is Tuesday at the home field of the highest remaining seed.

Here is a look at the favorites in the Section 1A tournament:

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No. 1 seed LOURDES (14-1-1) had another terrific regular season with 14 straight wins sandwiched between a season-opening 2-1 loss to K-M and a season-closing 0-0 tie with Totino Grace on Saturday. The Eagles average a section best 3.7 goals per game led by senior attackers Stephanie Helt and Hannah Anderson. Lourdes allows just 0.9 goals per game and senior goalie Marissa DiCecco has 10 shutouts with help from her defense. The Eagles under head coach Sarah Groven are after their seventh section crown and first since 2008.

No. 2 KASSON-MANTORVILLE (13-3-0) had to overcome the loss of senior goalie and returning all-conference player Kortney Kleber who injured her knee in the first game of the season against Lourdes. Her replacement Autumn Ehlke has filled in well despite never playing the position before, and K-M won three straight shutouts at the end of the regular season. Ehlke has six shutouts this season. Junior midfielder Laurel Ramer scored over 20 goals and led the section scoring for a second straight season. K-M averages 3.0 goals per game, second in the section behind Lourdes, and has allowed 0.8 GPG. The KoMets are coached by Chris Soderberg.

No. 3 LA CRESCENT (11-5)is the two-time defending section champ and has won five of the the last six Section 1A tournaments. The Lancers’ best finish at state was fourth in 2009. La Crescent enters the playoffs on a three-game losing streak, falling to Byron (2-1), Lourdes (1-0) and K-M (1-0) in the last week of the regular season. La Crescent wasn’t able to match its high scoring of recent seasons, averaging 2.1 GPG and getting shut out four times. The Lancers still play tough defense allowing 0.9 GPG and have won six shut-outs. Co-captains Alyssa Heidel and Laura Tripp are among five seniors for head coach Ed Hoskin.

No. 4 BYRON (7-7-1)rebounded nicely after a rough 1-6-1 start this season and enters the playoffs on a four-game winning streak. The Bears won their last three by shutout. Byron, coached by Marc Stangler, has averaged 1.5 goals and also allowed 1.5 goals per game. This is a veteran team led by six seniors and six juniors.

No. 5 WINONA COTTER (7-4-2) struggled at midseason and went four games without a victory, but the Ramblers have won three straight entering the postseason. Cotter has had a knack for playing beyond the 80-minute regulation mark, going 1-1-2 in four overtime games. The Ramblers have averaged 2.2 goals per game and allowed 1.5. Coach Marie Barrientos has an experienced team with six seniors and seven juniors.

No. 6 WINONA (8-7-0) has the benefit of playing against Class AA teams throughout the regular season and finished 3-6-0 in the Big Nine Conference. The Winhawks lost their last two regular season games to Albert Lea (3-2) and Mayo (5-4). Winona averages 2.5 goals and allowed 2.4 per game. Head coach Peter Weess has a youthful team with just two seniors, Aspen Roberts and Liz Polachek.

No. 7 PINE ISLAND/ZUMBROTA-MAZEPPA (7-6-2) had an up-and-down regular season and comes into the playoffs on a two-game losing streak. PIZM fell to Cotter (2-1 OT) and Byron (2-0) in the last week of the regular season. The Wildcats have averaged 2.4 goals and allowed 2.1 per game, with opponents scoring 4 or more five times. PIZM’s head coach is Doug Weincouff and he has good experience on his roster with seven seniors.

No. 8 PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (10-8) took two steps forward and two steps back all season, with one three-game win streak in the middle. The Bulldogs have played consistent defense allowing 1.8 GPG, and they scored 2.2 per game. Head coach Michael Heppner has a veteran team with six seniors and nine juniors.

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