Boys soccer: Hill-Murray gains second-place trophy in Boys Class A state tourney


Double teamed, Hill-Murray senior midfielder Shae Bottum (19) gets to the ball during the Class A State semifinal. The #3 ranked Hill-Murray beat the #2 ranked Waconia in a 1-0 win. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

Chants of “I believe that we will win” rang throughout the Metrodome as the Hill-Murray boys soccer team neared a 1-0 semifinal win over Waconia at Class A State.

Hill-Murray senior midfielder Peter Blaney (6) battles for the ball against Waconia.

Hill-Murray junior midfielder Henry Venuta (14) heads the ball during Class A semifinal action, a 1-0 victory over Waconia Oct. 28 at the Metrodome.

Heartbreaking loss to Como Park ends title hopes

Wally Wakefield
Review staff

Como Park 2 -  Hill-Murray 1

The dreams of Hill-Murray High School owning a boys state soccer title were left on the turf of the Metrodome Oct. 31, as the St. Paul Como Park Cougars clawed their way to a hard-fought, 2-1 triumph over the Pioneers.

The teams fought through the first 40 minutes of action with neither able to solve the other’s defensive efforts.

Just past the midway mark of the second half of play, a crossing pass from Abdikarin Diriye found the foot of Thor Will. The Como Park senior midfielder took two strides and fired a blast from 35 yards out. His shot caught the high corner inside the right post at 25:56 into the second half.

Como Park made it 2-0 just under eight minutes later when Diriye sent a shot from the left of the Hill-Murray net into the goalmouth. There, Seik Seik found the ball and sent it to the back twines at 33:29 into the second half.

The Pioneers finally saw their efforts pay off when 4:20 from game’s end junior midfielder Jack Blaney battled for the ball deep in the Como Park zone. He gained control, moved around a defender and banged the orb home from 6 yards in front.

Though Hill-Murray led in the statistics - except the one that counted most - the Pioneers weren’t rewarded with the prize they most coveted.

The second-place trophy for the Pioneers is their second in four trips to the boys state soccer tournament. In 1983, Hill-Murray finished second to Hopkins.

For Como Park it was school’s second journey in two years to the state tournament. A year ago they were the runners-up.

Como Park finished the year with a record of 19-0-3. Head coach Eric Erickson stated, “For us it is the perfect ending to a perfect season. We had to make it interesting when Hill-Murray scored late.

“Last year was our first year here, so this year was a big hurdle for us. This year we achieved everything we could have dreamed for.”

At the conclusion of the Pioneers’ 13-4-3 season, head coach Matt Weingartz stated, “It’s a heartbreaking end for us.

“But this is a team with heart. We played hard. We never stopped playing.

“We got here (to the championship game), and we have to be happy with that,” Weingartz said.

Wally Wakefield can be contacted at wwakefield@lillienews.com.

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