FARMINGTON -- The Lourdes boys soccer team has dealt with injuries all season long, so why would Tuesday's Class A quarterfinal be any different.
Lourdes was once again forced to juggle its lineup as goalkeeper Freddie Suhler left school early with an illness that left him vomiting and unable to make the trip.
"In steady Lourdes fashion this season, Freddie texted me this morning saying he was puking," coach Sean Kane said. "I just told the guys on the bus before the game, it wouldn't be a normal game if we didn't lose somebody."
But once again, Lourdes found a way.
In stepped Evan Leeser -- who had played throughout the season, but wasn't even on the state roster program. But Leeser was stellar, making eight big saves on the day to help Lourdes upset No. 2 St. Paul Washington Tech 3-2 in a Class A state quarterfinal matchup Tuesday night at Farmington High School.
Lourdes ran its season win streak to four as the Eagles improved to 10-8-2, while this was the first loss for Washington (14-3-2) since Sept. 9. The Eagles now await the winner of Thursday's matchup between St. Paul Humboldt and Metro Schools College Prep in a semifinal that will take place Nov. 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"You have just got to find it at the right time, and we are clicking right now," Kane said. "We have been so through so much adversity that when you get in a tough game like this, it comes down to mental toughness. We've got it in spades because we have been through so much this year.
"It was a blessing and a curse to deal with all season, but it's helped us right now."
Leeser, who had not played goalie since the seventh grade until this season, set the tone early as Washington -- with 20 miles per hour winds at its back -- was putting the pressure on early. Seven of Leeser's eight saves came in the first half.
"I was just grateful to get the chance," Leeser said. "I knew Freddie had left school, so I asked coach at about 2:45 if I was playing and he said, yes, and at least you didn't find out 10 minutes before the game."
It was Lourdes that took a 1-0 lead after the Washington goalkeeper attempted to clear it. Cole Smith corralled it, before taking a dribble and firing a shot that just got past goalie Klo So Wah.
Washington tied it just over six minutes later after a five-minute stretch that saw tremendous pressure put on the Lourdes back end. The Eagles finally caved on a free kick that bounced around before a third shot attempt beat Leeser to make it 1-1.
Washington kept up the pressure, but Leeser made a number of key saves to help send it to the half tied at 1. It was a score that Kane was more than happy to take into the intermission.
"They won the coin toss so they took the wind to begin with," Kane said. "They were able to kind of play it and use it in that first half. It was big to get to the half tied."
The second half saw a different Lourdes team.
The Eagles came out on the attack and after a misplay from the Washington keeper allowed a corner kick, Lourdes capitalized.
Thanks to a great corner kick from Trent Neff, junior defender McKaid Schotzko jumped high above the Washington defense to nail a well-placed header and gave Lourdes a 2-1 lead less than three minutes into the half.
"We came out so well," Kane said. "That really set the tone because we were huge underdogs, so coming out and setting the tone early creates adversity for the other team."
That second goal discombobulated Washington. No longer did you see the connecting passes or the through passes but instead a lot more of individual play. A Lourdes insurance goal seemed inevitable.
Just moments after Neff just missed on a scoring chance, it was freshman Jack Broadbent who capitalized off of the Washington's keeper desire to clear the ball. Broadbent's goal made it 3-1 with just over 26 minutes remaining.
That insurance goal re-awoke Washington and soon it got back to playing team soccer. The final 20 minutes saw ball after ball sent into the box where the Lourdes defenders seemed to always be waiting. In fact, defenders John Novak, Xavier Stevermeier, Jonah Morris, Tziyon Morris and Schotzko were solid throughout, specifically in dealing with Mr. Soccer finalist Camel Htoo and the other individual talent Washington possessed.
"I felt like the defense really always did their job," Leeser said. "I really didn't get my hands on much (in the second half), they were blocking everything."
But Washington wasn't going to go away quietly.
It made it 3-2 with just over five minutes left, riding a penalty kick. There would also be a corner kick for Washington with 15 seconds left. But as Lourdes did throughout Tuesday's game, it cleared it the ball out of harm's way. Now the Eagles have a date in the semifinals.
"Just a rollercoaster this season," Leeser said. "A lot of gratitude to get this point in the season. From everyone, the players, coaches, the community, this just means a lot."
Lourdes 3, St. Paul Washington 2
Lourdes: Cole Smith 1 goal, McKaid Schotzko 1 goal, Jack Broadbent 1 goal, Trent Neff 1 assist. Goalie: Evan Leeser 5 saves.
No. 2 Washington: August Htoo 1 goal, Edoardo Ciboddo 1 assist; Goalie: Klo So Wah 5 saves.