Closing the regular season on two strong notes, the Princeton boys soccer squad prepared itself for this week’s Section 7A tournament.
On a misty Saturday, Oct. 5, the Tigers wrapped up the regular season with a 1-0 victory over section partner Two Harbors. The first half began slowly with each team testing its footing and the Tigers held a 5-1 shots-on-goal edge.
“In the second half, our offense really began stepping up, and the defense kept shutting down the Agates’ attack,” said Tiger Coach Paul Roth. “We generated 15 nice scoring opportunities from all angles in that half.”
Alex Christensen began the Tigers’ scoring play by moving around the defenders and sending a pass to Sam Schroeder. Schroeder patiently held the ball as long as he could, then he kicked a shot home to the far post. That score ignited the Tiger offense in its dominating half, added Coach Roth.
On Oct. 3, the Tigers battled hard at home against Mississippi 8 runner-up Rogers before falling 2-1. Princeton scored first three-quarters into the first half when Cole Heinemann alertly sent a free kick to the short side. The ball caromed off the post and the Royals’ keeper, and Elliott Arens hustled behind the defense to boot it across the line.
Rogers scored before the first half ended and got the game-winner with seven minutes left in regulation. Coach Roth credited Tiger keeper Justin Carlson with making several spectacular saves among his 18 total to keep his team in the match.
Section 7A playoffs
The Tigers were seeded 12th for the Section 7A playoffs on Tuesday. They will open the tournament at No. 5 Grand Rapids (5-9-2) on Thursday, Oct. 10 (4:30 p.m.). The Tigers and Thunderhawks did not meet during the regular season.
A victory would advance Princeton to the Saturday, Oct. 12 quarterfinals at either No. 4 Duluth Marshall (8-8) or home against No. 13 North Branch (2-12-2).
Also in that half of the brackets is Mississippi 8 champ Chisago Lakes (13-1-1) as the No. 1 seed. In the other half, Monticello (9-4-3) is the No. 2 seed, and Cloquet (9-5-1) is the No. 3.
The Section 7AA semifinals will be Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the two high surviving seeds. The championship game will be Oct. 17 at Duluth Denfeld.
Mississippi 8 Boys Soccer: FINAL: Chisago Lakes 8-1-1, 13-1-1; Rogers 7-1, 8-8; Monticello 5-2-2, 9-4-3; Cambridge-Isanti 4-3-1, 7-6-1; St. Francis 4-4-1, 6-8-1; St. Michael-Alb. 3-3-2, 3-9-4; Buffalo 3-4-2, 4-10-2; Princeton 1-7-1, 4-10-2; Big Lake 1-4-1, 3-9-1; North Branch 0-7-2, 2-12-2.