2017 State Champions!

The Eagles advanced to the Class A 2017 Boys Soccer State Tournament Championship Game on Thursday, November 2, at U.S. Bank Stadium and concluded their season with a 1-0 victory over St. Thomas Academy.

Get up to the minute schedules, scores, news, and more on the Eagle Boys Soccer TeamApp.

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Fall 2018 Season Try Out Information

Tryouts for grades 9-12 begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 13, at the Totino-Grace athletic fields.  Players need soccer shoes, running shoes (to play indoors and run on track).  Players should bring healthy snacks, a water bottle, shinguards and a willingness to work hard. We will train, evaluate, and team build each day from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. 

All 9th graders will make a team--there are no cuts for freshmen.  The first round of player pool selections for grades 10-12 will take place at the end of the training Tuesday with another round before the end of training Thursday.  

During the week of August 20-24, C, B, JV and Varsity teams will train between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at TG and area parks.  This schedule will be finalized in August. 

If you are interested in attending captains' practice contact Parker Jaeger at parker.jaeger@tgeagle.org.
call Bill Vance: 763 571 9116, ext 792, or email: Bill.Vance@totinograce.org with questions.


Boys Soccer Registration for the 2018-2019 Season

Interested players should complete the 2018-2019 Boys Soccer Registration Form. Click HERE to access the form and see Coach Vance at bill.vance@totinograce.org with any questions.

2017 State Champions!

The Eagles advanced to the Class A 2017 Boys Soccer State Tournament Championship Game on Thursday, November 2, at U.S. Bank Stadium and concluded their season with a 1-0 victory over St. Thomas Academy.


Headed to the Championship Game

Following a thrilling overtime win, 3-2, against Orono, the Eagles are headed to the Class A 2017 Boys Soccer State Tournament Final Game at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 2, at U.S. Bank Stadium.


Media Coverage of the 2017 Boys Soccer Team

Class A boys soccer: Totino-Grace wins 'game of inches' with St. Thomas Academy
Pioneer Press, November 2

Boys soccer: Late goals push Totino-Grace into Class A final
Pioneer Press, October 20, 2017

Totino-Grace wins in OT semifinal to play for 1A soccer crown
Star Tribune, October 30, 2017

Class1A boys soccer semifinals - photos
Star Tribune, October 30, 2017

Totino-Grace soccer preaches teamwork en route to state berth. The Eagles' selfless play is a big reason they reached state.
Star Tribune, October 28, 2017

CCX Media Game Clips and Interviews
TG vs Chisago Lakes State Quarterfinal
TG vs Breck Section Championship
TG vs Benilde-St. Margarets Section Semifinal



State Semifinal Game

Following a 4-0 win over Chisago Lakes on October 24, the Eagles advance to the Class A 2017 Boys Soccer State Tournament Semifinal Game at noon on Monday, October 30, at U.S. Bank Stadium. Click HERE for the tournament bracket.

State Bound!

Following an exciting 2-1 section win over Breck on October 19, the Eagles are headed to the 2017 Boys State Soccer Tournament! Bracket information and game details can be found on the Minnesota State High School League website HERE.

Undefeated and Ranked #1

The TG boys soccer team is undefeated and ranked #1! In their 8-0 season they have scored 30 goals, only allowed 4 goals by opponents, and earned 5 shutouts. The Eagles just earned the #1 spot in the conference and was ranked #1 in Class A in the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association weekly poll.

Click HERE to visit the Star Tribune boys soccer hub.


Coaching Philosophy 
All families involved in Eagles Soccer Program are vital to the boys’ development as student-athletes. It is our staff’s goal to continue to build up our entire soccer program and provide educational and competitive experiences for the students of all grade levels. As varsity coach at Totino-Grace I am excited about and committed to creating an environment where students come together to work toward a goal greater than themselves. There are many opportunities at Totino-Grace for students to develop and share their gifts. The boys soccer program affords those students who make the team a setting where they can dedicate themselves to teamwork, competition, and enjoyment as a result of working hard. Each soccer team in our program has high expectations for students—academically, socially, athletically and spiritually. 

Cut Policy 
Due to the nature of high school athletics and the number of interested participants, rosters will be limited. As varsity coach it is my intention to choose the best players for each level. With the exception of the freshmen team there will may be cuts based on soccer talent and skill, commitment to the team, and work ethic. The boys’ coaching staff takes full responsibility for the decisions made regarding team selection and playing time. 

Code of Conduct and Expectations 
The MSHSL Athletic Eligibility Form along with the TG behavior contract specifically articulate the standards to which all boys soccer players will be held. 

Soccer at the high school level is competitive, educational and meant to be enjoyed. Behavior that does not reflect this understanding is unacceptable. All coaches, players, referees, parents, and fans are reminded to honor the game of soccer and the dignity of all persons involved in the playing of the game at all times. 

Bill Vance      Varsity Head Coach       
Jeremy Fisher      Assistant Coach  
Chris Vance JV Coach  
Adam Wolfe C Squad Coach  

2017 Game Summaries



In Match Day two of the 2017 Northwest Suburban Conference campaign, the Eagles traveled less than 13 minutes to their neighbors to the north for a 5PM game against the Spring Lake Park Panthers.  The former co-operative soccer team with St. Anthony had their soccer participation numbers split in two this season and as a result they carry five eighth and ninth graders on their varsity squad, which included an 8th grade starting goalkeeper who earned SLP's man of the match honors from this point of view.  The temperature on the turf was the highest these Eagles had played in thus far this season.  It was the early game on the second day of school.  What other factors might one name for the sluggish start?  The Eagles opened the scoring in the first 9 minutes on a quick restart in the right corner from Senior, captain, midfielder Luke Lindsay who astutely played a simple ball to sophomore Liam Vance after Lindsay was tackled hard by two defenders.  Vance cut the ball back  to his left foot and drove a ball into the 6-yard box where senior captain and center back Jack O'dea's opportunistic run resulted in the ball bouncing off the keeper's hands toward the head of O'Dea.  O'Dea's momentum and athletic balance delivered the ball into the back of the net: Oh Yea, O'Dea--1-0 Eagles!  In the 12th minute a cheeky and well-weighted slotted ball by senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll, found the feet of junior forward Herbert Endeley.  Endeley danced around his mark and the onrushing keeper to make it 2-0.  In the 16th minute sophomore Adam Yazbeck, after hustling with and without the ball through a few opponents, saw a bouncing ball return to him thanks to a quick-thinking header by senior defender Brandon Kolles to senior mid Saji Fernandes.  Fernandes served it quickly to Yazbeck who deftly lifted in the direction of the center of the penalty area when Matzoll's well-timed run, collected the arcing service over his head, dribbled to the side of the keeper and put the Eagles up 3-0.  Throughout the game, the Eagles defense consisted of junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza, outside backs Kolles, senior Matt Hagen and sophomore Xavier Savard.  Centerbacks included senior captain Jack Vettel, Lindsay, and O'Dea.  This committee of defenders helped the team earn their first shutout of the season.  In the 66th minute, Endeley battled a defender to be first to junior wing Gavin Jeppesen's lofted servlance--or was it a clearvice--Jeppesen succinctly ran onto an SLP pass attempt and one time served it in the direction of Endeley.  Endeley beat his defender and was in on a breakaway.  His shot was saved  by the goalkeeper's left-handed diving reach but the ball deflected toward Vance.  Vance exaggerated a fake shot, touched it to his side and shot it between Panther defenders who were desperate to back up their goalie's fine breakaway save.  The Eagles had 13 shots on goal with four finishes and Ronza ended the game with two saves.  The next Eagles match is Tuesday, Sept 5 at 5PM at Jim Totino Stadium versus Armstrong.  Come out and support the Eagles!


The Eagles sported the all white kit--brand new white socks, not as new white shorts, and somewhat new white jerseys--while the visiting Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons wore their all red kit--socks, shorts, and jersey.  If only the referees would have worn all blue, then the field could have symbolized a tribute to the US men's national team who were playing at the same time in an important World Cup Qualifier in Honduras.  Despite a start that saw too many easy turnovers for the coaching staff's liking, the Eagles settled in and managed to spend much of the first half on the front foot keeping the Falcons backline and goalkeeper busy.  All three goals were the result, in some form or another, of second efforts.  In the first three minutes of the game the two teams exchanged fouls outside their own penalty boxes.  Senior captain Luke Lindsay drove a hard shot over the Armstrong wall from about 28 yards out forcing a sprawling save to the left post that the Falcons keeper did well to keep within his grasp.  The Eagles opened the scoring on a play down the right flank where the Eagles appeared to be fouled but junior forward Herbert Endeley got up, ran back to close down the ball, combined with Lindsay, and then earned a corner kick.  His corner service into the box found senior defender Matt 'Header' Hagen, who acrobatically lowered his head near the 6 yard line to redirect the ball past the keeper giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead within 12 minutes.  About ten minutes later, Armstrong, while playing the ball out of the back, made an attempted square ball turn into a delightful display of quickness and lefty power for Endeley.  As the ball traveled toward the center, Endeley sprinted in the direction of its intended receiver, won the 50-50 battle, pushed the ball toward the left endline then blasted it by the keeper just inside the far post to make it 2-0.  The halftime discussion was again about keeping a mentality of hunger for the ball while coach Andrew Blake instructed the team to focus on 'Shapement'--yes the coach who gave us Communishape (communicate and keep your shape on the field) about 10 years ago, authored this poetically licensed beauty: keep moving but stay in your positions to support each other (shape).  The Eagles scored a nice goal that was deemed out of bounds minutes after they went up 3-0 on a double effort by holding midfielder Parker Jaeger.  Jaeger's header then toe poke to Lindsay found Endeley whose silky turn up the left wing put him in on goal and his service toward the goal deflected off a defender right to the feet of Collin Matzoll who closed out the scoring for the Eagles with a one-touch strike.  The back line of Hagen, senior Brandon Kolles, senior captains Jack O'Dea and Jack Vettel, sophomore Xavier Savard anchored by Phil Ronza lead the team to their second shutout in two games.  The 3-0 Eagles visit Elk River Thursday night at 7PM and then travel to Blaine Saturday for a 5pm tilt versus Blaine Bengals.  Come out and support the Eagles!


The Eagles sported the all white kit--brand new white socks, not as new white shorts, and somewhat new white jerseys--while the visiting Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons wore their all red kit--socks, shorts, and jersey.  If only the referees would have worn all blue, then the field could have symbolized a tribute to the US men's national team who were playing at the same time in an important World Cup Qualifier in Honduras.  Despite a start that saw too many easy turnovers for the coaching staff's liking, the Eagles settled in and managed to spend much of the first half on the front foot keeping the Falcons backline and goalkeeper busy.  All three goals were the result, in some form or another, of second efforts.  In the first three minutes of the game the two teams exchanged fouls outside their own penalty boxes.  Senior captain Luke Lindsay drove a hard shot over the Armstrong wall from about 28 yards out forcing a sprawling save to the left post that the Falcons keeper did well to keep within his grasp.  The Eagles opened the scoring on a play down the right flank where the Eagles appeared to be fouled but junior forward Herbert Endeley got up, ran back to close down the ball, combined with Lindsay, and then earned a corner kick.  His corner service into the box found senior defender Matt 'Header' Hagen, who acrobatically lowered his head near the 6 yard line to redirect the ball past the keeper giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead within 12 minutes. About ten minutes later, Armstrong, while playing the ball out of the back, made an attempted square ball turn into a delightful display of quickness and lefty power for Endeley.  As the ball traveled toward the center, Endeley sprinted in the direction of its intended receiver, won the 50-50 battle, pushed the ball toward the left endline then blasted it by the keeper just inside the far post to make it 2-0.  The halftime discussion was again about keeping a mentality of hunger for the ball while coach Andrew Blake instructed the team to focus on 'Shapement'--yes the coach who gave us Communishape (communicate and keep your shape on the field) about 10 years ago, authored this poetically licensed beauty: keep moving but stay in your positions to support each other (shape).  The Eagles scored a nice goal that was deemed out of bounds minutes after they went up 3-0 on a double effort by holding midfielder Parker Jaeger.  Jaeger's header then toe poke to Lindsay found Endeley whose silky turn up the left wing put him in on goal and his service toward the goal deflected off a defender right to the feet of Collin Matzoll who closed out the scoring for the Eagles with a one-touch strike.  The back line of Hagen, senior Brandon Kolles, senior captains Jack O'Dea and Jack Vettel, sophomore Xavier Savard anchored by Phil Ronza lead the team to their second shutout in two games.  The 3-0 Eagles visit Elk River Thursday night at 7 pm and then travel to Blaine Saturday for a  5 pm tilt versus Blaine Bengals.  Come out and support the Eagles!


The Eagles visited the Elks of Elk River for match day 4 of Northwest Suburban Conference action. The tg bus traveled over 200 miles as six soccer teams had games today at or against Elk River. The 7pm kickoff gave fans 24 seconds to settle in as junior forward Herbert Endeley dispossessed the Elks defenders on top of their penalty area and drove a shot past the keeper to make it 1-0 as the clock read 39:36 remaining in the half.  The Elks certainly did not let that early goal turn into an onslaught by disciplined defending and a commitment to clog the middle of the Eagles attacking third.  The Eagles possessed in the attacking half while the Elks did a solid job of preventing too many clear cut chances at goal that an Eagle fan might expect after finishing such an early chance. In minute 29 an Endeley corner kick connected with Collin Matzoll who redirected it into the goal to double the lead.  With under 10 minutes remaining in the half,  a crafty and creative three man combination began with a through ball that traveled with pace on the thick Elk River pitch from outside back Xavier Savard to a posted up sophomore forward Steevenson Lamarre. Lamarre laid it off perfectly to an onrushing Endeley who touched it past the defender and proceeded to rocket the ball off the post/crossbar upper 90--much to the Eagles fans' chagrin and the Elks announcer's appreciation.  Five minutes into the second half junior forward Eric Krieger battled into the box and was involved in a collision at which point his momentum sent the ball in the direction of Lamarre. Lamarre’s effective ‘back to goal turn on a defender’ put both his mark and the goalkeeper off balance at which point he inside-of-the-foot slotted the ball home for his first goal of the season.  Endeley earned a penalty kick and elected to convert it for his second goal of the game.  Junior goalkeeper Philip Ronza earned his third shutout with three saves behind a committee of defenders including Jack O’Dea, Matt Hagen, Jack Vettel, Xavier Savard, Brandon Kolles and a slew of midfielders and forwards.  The Eagles are grateful for the loud and positive support they witnessed at tonight’s match.

The Eagles travel to Blaine Saturday for a 5pm conference matchup against the Bengals.  Come out and support the Eagles!


Game 5 TG Eagles defeat Blaine 3-0

The Blaine Bengals hosted a unique 5pm Saturday evening conference match with the Eagles because of the ACT Saturday morning.  Due to Anthony Schmidt ‘05’s wedding, the team did not have the regular pregame gathering, three point white board talk, and few minutes of quiet in the soccer locker room.  This afternoon they did it on the crowned pitch of Blaine’s football/soccer stadium.  The message was clear--defend with determination, work to win the air, and savor the opportunity.  The Eagles doubled the amount of time it took from their previous match to score: 75 seconds into the game sophomore defender Xavier Savard gave a second effort after an aerial battle.  His ball forward was temporarily collected by a Blaine midfielder who was under pressure by junior forward Herbert Endeley. Endeley picked his pocket and raced down the wing and found sophomore forward Steevenson Lamarre in stride to make it 1-0.  An impressive display of skill again in the corner by Endeley saw him Cruyff his mark and serve a well-placed cross to Lamarre who astutely headed it side netting for what the Eagles faithful thought was a beautiful display of soccer attacking and a 2 goal lead inside of ten minutes but the goal was called offside.  Had MLS Video Assisted Review been enacted, the goal would have stood but it doesn’t so it didn’t.  In the 32nd minute a throw-in by senior defender Matt Hagen found senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll who played a ball to sophomore midfielder Adam Yazbeck near the top of the penalty area.  Yazbeck touched it ahead to Lamarre who played a ball ahead of Endeley.  Endeley struck it hard past the keeper to double the lead for real this time.  With 11 minutes remaining in the half, Senior captain midfielder Luke Lindsay served a free kick into the mix where Hagen back heel flicked the ball in the air toward the feet of Lamarre.  Steevie touched it one direction and slotted it by the keeper to increase the lead to 3-0.  The Eagles created a number of quality chances in the second half but didn’t finish them.  Junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza was removed from the game for precautionary reasons late in the first half and back up foward-keeper Eric Krieger took the gloves and played over 46 minutes to preserve the Eagles fourth shutout in five games.  In front of the keepers was the stout and strong defensive unit that included Hagen, senior Brandon Kolles, senior captain Jack Vettel, and Jack O’dea, and Savard.  Parker Jaeger’s holding midfield play helped connect the backs with the attacking waves as well.  They helped the Eagles prevent Blaine’s leading scorer who had scored in each game he has played in this year.  The 5-0 Eagles host Coon Rapids Tuesday at 5pm and Andover Thursday at 7pm.  Come out and support the Eagles!  I am because we are.


Congratulations Anthony and Titi Schmidt!!!


Coon Rapids @ TGHS 6-2

St. Ignatius writes about God communicating to us through our feelings.  US Soccer Coaching schools speak of viewing a match with as objective an eye as possible--don’t get caught up in the emotions or it might skew what you are observing and what objectives your team is working toward.  In Tuesday Night’s 5PM game at TG the heat wasn’t the only thing that was causing discomfort.  Fatigue, drama, skill, 1v1 duels, excitement, and the roller coaster of emotions associated with an eight goal Northwest Suburban Conference game, is what the fans witnessed.  The Eagles defeated a crafty and offensively opportunistic Cardinals side that maximized on the errors of Totino-Grace. Ultimately the Eagles reminded themselves that the objective of every soccer match is simply to score 1 more goal than the opponent.  This night the Eagles conceded for the first time since opening night 8/25 while also scoring a season-high six goals.  Senior midfield captain Luke Lindsay converted his penalty kick in the 5th minute.  Junior forward Herbert Endeley rocketed a shot that appeared to swerve and dip from outside the 18 yard line in the 8th minute.  Coon Rapids made haste to take advantage of an Eagles turnover then exploited the space to combine for a goal in the 11th minute.  The Eagles responded in the 19th minute with a cornerkick that rebounded to senior defender Matt Hagen who struck it left footed toward goal.  Sophomore forward Steevie Lamarre redirected it again where it careened off of captain centerback Jack O’dea into the net for his second goal of the year...Fun fact: his three older brothers failed to put it in the back of the old onion bag during their varsity tenure but the younger brother--from the center back position--has now scored twice this season (we love you and miss you Matt, Michael and Dan!).  Another corner kick from Endeley was toe poked into goal by senior midfielder Saji Fernandes in the 26th minute as the Eagles continued to put offensive pressure on the Cardinals.  The second half started and less than 60 seconds in, senior midfield captain Collin Matzoll found Endeley who pushed the ball laterally outside the 18 and doubled his tally with another rocket of a right footed blast that tickled the side netting--power and accuracy.  A few minutes later a missed opportunity to apply team pressure gave Coon Rapids an opportunity to play a ball forward where a foot race ensued.  The Cardinals forward touched the ball to the side in stride to strike it past goalkeeper Phil Ronza to make the score 5-2.  In the 62nd minute Endeley played a ball ahead to junior forward Eric Krieger.  Krieger touched it inside in the path of Lamarre whose 1-time strike artistically balanced pace, curve, and a bar-down finish in the upper 90 that some kids only dream about while playing FIFA on their game console of choice--a goalazo of the first order.  The game had its moments of  mild discombobulation, mirroring life, but the Eagles worked together to get the job done.  The Eagles had 10 shots on goal to the Cardinals two.  Ronza was called upon to make a number of decisions that prevented further serious chances for Coon Rapids.  The Eagles host Andover Thursday night at 7PM.  Come out and support the Eagles!

9/22 Blake 4 TG 0

It was an awesome night for soccer and a bad night for the Eagles.  A record regular season crowd featured the whiteout by the Blake students and the blackout by the Eagles student section. Former US National Team standout and MLS Cup Champion Tony Sanneh came out to watch the Class A #2 ranked Blake Bears host the  #1 ranked Eagles. While it was a fun and spirited atmosphere, the Eagles experienced numerous firsts: first time not scoring in a game this season, first time trailing in a game this season, first time allowing more than two goals this season, which all ultimately lead to the first loss of the season.  When the offense doesn’t score and the defense doesn’t stop the opponent from scoring, the result is usually not good.  This night the neutral fan would have to say Blake was on and TG was not.  Numerous turnovers, unforced errors, lack of staying touch tight and goal side, failing to win airballs and the inability to move the ball quickly on the wide turf surface are some of the factors that lead to the lopsided loss.  The wind played a factor as well and the Bears took advantage sending airballs into the penalty area. In the seventh minute a cross from the Bears left wing found an unmarked Bear past the far post who headed into the net to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. In minute 32 later a long Blake Bear service into the box was won by Jack O'Dea on the goal line but his header went off the shoulder of a crashing Blake Bear to double their lead.   At half the score was 2-0 and the Eagles were fortunate as the Bears failed to convert a PK and missed an open net. For a brief period to start the second half the Eagles put pressure on the Bears. Junior midfielder Parker Jaeger beat the two defenders trying to get the ball from him and blasted a shot that just missed the left post.  The Bears third goal came from a well-executed corner kick in the 52nd minute. The fourth goal came with 12 minutes remaining and  was the result of a collision of two eagle defenders. A Blake attacker collected the ball and dribbled in on goal to complete the scoring.  The Bears had five shots on goal to the Eagles four.  The Eagles are extremely grateful to the numerous soccer alums, the great collection of students, and the always supportive presence of parents and family that graced the sidelines to cheer on the Eagles.    The next game is a NWS Conference match up Tuesday evening at 5pm at Osseo High School.

9/26 at Osseo 4-2 W

The 2017 version of the Eagles vs. the Orioles Aviary Cup didn't disappoint from an entertainment perspective. The  Osseo Orioles hadn't lost at home since August 31 and were coming off an exciting 4-3 victory of NWS Conference foe Blaine.  The Eagles, without multiple starters due to injury,  were focusing their energies on shoring up the defense and simply scoring more goals than the opponent after their struggles at Blake Friday night. Fourteen minutes into the match junior defender Parker Jaeger won an airball and headed it forward to sophomore holding midfielder Xavier Savard who challenged his opponent for the air ball and on his second attempt found sophomore forward Steevie Lamarre.  Lamarre found junior forward Herbert Endeley who danced through the Orioles penalty area and struck the ball by the Osseo keeper to give the Eagles their first tally of the game.  At the 20 minute mark a defensive breakdown provided an Oriole wing an opportunity to shoot and the ball snuck in between the post junior Keeper Phil Ronza. Coach Vance was zealously communicating to the bench that we need to build one another up not tear each other down after allowing a goal when the Orioles again wormed their way through the Eagles mid and back lines to give them a 2-1 lead.  At the half the team was invited to play the game not the score.  The Orioles lead lasted until the 45th minute when a Liam Vance freekick nearly found Endeley’s head but junior forward Eric Krieger’s unselfish one-time strike across the mouth of the goal found senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll--he tucked it by the keeper to draw the match even. Both teams tested one another’s defensive prowess for the next 15 minutes.  In minute 62 a quick counter attack came off an Osseo free kick from midfield.  Sparked by Jaeger’s aggressive header from the Eagles penalty area, Endeley collected that ball and drove end to end like Kyrie Irving except Endeley served a ball to the opposite flag where Krieger battled a physical defender and never gave up.  An Osseo defender then collected the ball and tried to play it up field but the pressure of senior midfielder Saji Fernandes collected the ball off an opponent’s foot and quickly played a square pass to Endeley who one timed it past the keeper to give the Eagles the lead for good.  Off the ensuing kickoff the Eagles pressed hard and Endeley collected a turnover, dribbled into the box and was taken down.  His penalty kick sent the keeper the wrong way and the game ended 4-2 in favor of the Eagles (9-1).  Junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza made 4 quality saves as well as numerous other decisions that prevented the Orioles from increasing their lead.  The Eagles host Maple Grove Thursday night at 7pm at Jim Totino Stadium in hopes of taking another step toward Eagles soccer goal #1: NWS Conference Championship.  Come out and cheer on the Eagles!

9/28/17 Maple Grove 2-1 W

It is the time of year when Jim Totino Stadium gives off the scent of  . . . playoffs.  October is just around the corner and this Northwest Suburban Conference match pitted two undefeated sides vying for the lead in the standings for the conference title.  While it wasn’t a playoff game, it had that playoff feel!  The Crimson of Maple Grove entered the match undefeated with only two conference draws and the Eagles had one loss but hadn’t lost yet in conference.  It is the mantra--their pursuit of annual Eagles soccer goal #1: conference.  Ever since 2001 the stated goals are the same: conference section state.  The Eagles dealt with missing three regular starters (each dealing with various injuries) by digging deep and working hard for one another.  While the three are each in different stages of healing their various injuries, none of them played tonight’s match.  The positional adjustments that the team made for Tuesday’s victory over Osseo were called upon again.  The Crimson came out firing.  The vocal intensity, hustle, and commitment to winning airballs put the Eagles on their heels again but this time, the boys settled in and realized that they might not have as much possession of the ball as they’d prefer.  The Eagles defense captained by senior Jack Vettel and manned by junior Parker Jaeger, junior Macallan McSherry, and senior Matt Hagan, worked to keep their shape and limit Maple Grove’s dangerous chances in front of junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza.  Ronza owned his box for the most part and helped act as the eyes of the defensive unit.  Bend but don’t break.  There were periods of the game when that adage rang true in describing the Eagles backline and keeper.  After absorbing pressure the Eagles got the first best chance for either side when a cross from Hagen was flicked on in the box and junior Eric Krieger nearly scored.  A plethora of long balls sprayed at our backline and penalty area throughout the evening and the majority of the match.  The Eagles dealt with them with angled headers, Ronza coming out to collect them, or allowing balls over the endline resulting in goalkicks.  In the 25th minute a scrum in front of the Maple Grove goal produced at least three shots.  The third was the charm as a determined captain Collin Matzoll pounded it in to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead against the run of play.  It was a goal that communicated to the Crimson that the Eagles aren’t always pretty--but they can finish.  As the halftime horn signalled the conclusion of the first 40 minutes of this important conference match, the Eagles lead 1-0.  The Crimson earned a corner quickly into the second half and the Eagles did well to clear it.  Four minutes later junior forward Herbert Endeley demonstrated that there are also beautiful assists delivered by the Endeley Steam Train when it leaves the station, in addition to powerful goals.  His quick and powerful run down the right wing saw him spin a defender and serve an accurately placed and paced service to the far post where Krieger was fulfilling the ‘late is great’ part of a back post run.  He headed the cross in with conviction and the Eagles, lacking in the time of possession stat, were up 2-0.  The Eagles supported each other and worked to limit Maple Grove’s serious looks at goal but in the 49th minute a TG foul gave the Crimson a free kick to the left of the penalty area.  The ball was served to the back post where a slew of defenders and attackers were crashing.  The ball was headed into the ceiling of the net to cut the lead in half.  The Eagles regrouped and recommitted themselves to defend in numbers, challenge 50-50 balls and occasionally counter attack but Maple Grove certainly did not stop sending big services and numbers forward.  The Eagles held on for the 2-1 victory.  The Eagles visit Centennial this saturday for a 3PM kickoff.  Come out and support the Eagles!


Secondly: THIS SUNDAY NIGHT is TG Athletic Hall of Fame celebration

 our Athletic Hall of Fame will be honoring alumni and coaching staff at our second annual  induction ceremony.  Honorees include: Ned Thompson, Greg Balego, Dave Anderson, Ted Strugar '78, Rob Bohlinger '93, Jill McDonell Ondrey '95, and Julie Eibensteiner '97.  The football teams of 1977 and 1978 and the 1982 dance team will be honored as well.  If you are interested in joining the celebration, register here.  Doors open at 6pm, program begins at 7 in the theater.

10/3/17  Eagles over Irondale 6-0

The damp and dreary previous 36 hours may have softened Jim Totino field but the Eagles players were eager to play hard and finish the regular season strong as they celebrated Eagles Youth Night.  The Knights of Irondale, coached by Mario Perez, TG class of 2004 (‘02 state championship winner as a crafty attacking player), had a number of opportunities to put the Eagles backline under pressure but were unable to make the final pass or  last touch to finish.  Four minutes in a ball served across the box by junior forward Herbert Endeley hit a defender.  Sophomore wing Liam Vance tried a right footed strike that struck the chest of an Irondale defender.  The rebound landed at the feet of junior forward Eric Krieger.  He touched it ahead of him and shot it upper shelf to get the eventual game winning goal on the stat sheet.  Krieger, whose two previous games produced goals, rubbed his head in celebration crediting his new, lucky haircut for the offensive production over the last week.  In the 21st minute pressure by senior midfield captain Luke Lindsay helped sophomore defender Xavier Savard win a ball and play it one-time to senior midfield captain Collin Matzoll.  Matzoll’s quick skill on the ball directed a pass to Endeley who took two touches to serve it in the path of winger Krieger.  Endeley then sprinted toward the penalty area while Krieger drove down the wing.  After entering the penalty area Krieger’s centering ball was traveling toward the six yard box in the air.  Endeley volleyed it while streaking  between a defender and the goalkeeper to double the score.  The third goal was a penalty kick by Lindsay after the ref called an Irondale handball in the box.  Goal number four came in the 58th minute when junior midfielder Parker Jaeger intercepted a Knight’s pass on the left side of the central midfield and played it to Krieger who was checking back from the left wing, Krieger played the way he faced to Matzoll who sent a ball to the right wing.  Vance collected it, dribbled toward goal, cut it to his genetically preferred left foot and drove a shot over the keeper’s hands and under the crossbar to make it 4-0.  Minute 63 saw dual midfield pressure by senior midfielder Saji Fernades and Matzoll result in a ball to Endeley.  He danced up the right wing, executed a full-sole-roll aka Maradonna (spin) to get by two defenders and then drove a ball toward the mouth of the goal that deflected in off an Irondale defender.  Three minutes later a nearside throw-in by junior midfielder Zach Kuffel was served to Jaeger. Jaeger served it back to senior defender Brandon Kolles.  Kolles played a composed ball back to Kuffel who found Jaeger again.  Jaeger served a through ball to junior left wing Gavin Jeppesen. His one time left-footed service was perfectly placed on the hopeful forehead of Vance, who directed the ball back toward the near post from the top of the six yard box in Header-Hougie fashion circa late 2000’s to earn his first varsity brace.  Savard and Kolles  joined the rest of the backline: senior defender Matt Hagen, junior defender Macallan McSherry, captains Jack O’Dea and Jack Vettel and goalkeeper Phil Ronza in leading the team to their sixth shutout of the season.  The Eagles (12-1) visit Park Center, who have lost once in their last 11 games, Thursday night at 7PM to close out the NWS Conference schedule.  Saturday the Eagles host #3 ranked St. Thomas Academy Saturday at 1PM for senior day and parent day--come out and help us celebrate our seniors and all our parents!
I am because we are
Alumni Game - Sunday 1PM!!! See you then!

10/5/17 @ Park Center

Twenty seven years--For only the second time in the history of the Totino-Grace Eagles Soccer Program, the team went undefeated in conference play.  According to the team records, the other team to achieve that feat were the Craig Steele-lead 1990 Eagles.  The Pirates were hosting the final conference match of the 2017 Northwest Suburban campaign and during warmups they named their intention: get the W.  Park Center hadn’t lost since September 16 and had only allowed three goals in the six games played since then.  The Eagles focus was to run the table--maximum points from 13 conference games.  An exciting start saw end to end action and both teams demonstrating the October determination that extends team’s seasons.  The Eagles first goal started with a tackle at midfield and a ball from senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll angled to junior forward Eric Krieger on the wing.  Krieger sprinted down the wing and served a fine cross toward the 6 yard line.  Junior forward Herbert Endeley’s well-timed run into the box allowed him to one touch it in with power and poise to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead less than 20 minutes into the game.  The Pirates fought back and leveled the score in the second half after a clearance from inside the Eagles box that found the feet of a Park Center attacker.  The Pirate shot lofted over a handful of players from both teams and beyond the outreached arm of junior keeper Phil Ronza.  The goal seemed to wake up the Eagles who recommitted themselves to putting more pressure on the Pirates further up the field.  A handful of cornerkicks created danger. One from sophomore winger Liam Vance resulted in Endeley’s second goal of the match when the ball deflected off the keeper toward the Eagles’ leading scorer.  Endeley struck it hard and high into the ceiling of the net to make it 2-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining.  With under seven minutes remaining a foul outside the box saw Vance and Endeley line up.  Endeley approached and stroked it around the wall and away from the outstretched arms of the keeper to complete his hat trick.  The engines of holding midfielder Parker Jaeger and central mids--senior captain  midfielder Luke Lindsay and Matzoll--set the pace for the match.  The backline of Savard, McSherry, Hagen, Vettel, and O’Dea did their jobs in limiting Ronza’s busyness in minding the net.  Ronza made three unofficial saves and a number of quick decisions to collect services into the box throughout the evening.  The Eagles host #3 ranked St. Thomas Academy Saturday at 1PM and will honor the seniors and the parents beginning at 12:50PM before the 1PM kickoff.  Come out and celebrate a great regular season with the Eagles at our Senior/Parent day on Saturday.

Alumni Game--Sunday at 1pm at Jim Totino Stadium!
See you then and hope to see you Saturday as well!
Go Eagles!

10/7/17 vs. STA 2-2 OT
The soggy pitch of Jim Totino Field was expertly prepared by TG Grounds Director Don Roney.  An email at 5:40AM confirmed that field preparation was to commence.  Rolling the saturated grass, repainting lines, after replacing divots is a tedious task and the Eagles are grateful for the effort put into to making the field at least barely playable.  Firm and soft spots, patches of turf torn up from aggressive slide tackles or plant foot sliding summarized the conditions for this #2 v #3 match up.  The reigning state champion Cadets scored first in the 7th minute off a corner kick.  The Eagles tied it up 23 minutes later after junior forward Herbert Endeley received a great idea from senior captain center back Jack O’Dea.  That idea came in the form of a lofted ball that Endeley adeptly touched in the direction of the goal with his thigh beating a defender, only to be taken down by the STA goalkeeper.  Endeley converted the penalty.  Six minutes later a nifty combination that started with Collin Matzoll lead to an unselfish one touch pass from senior Saji Fernandes to sophomore Steevie Lamarre on the left wing.  Lamarre ‘behind the planted foot’ passed the ball to an overlapping Endeley who beat a few defenders around the wing and was determined to have been fouled by the referee.  This time senior captain midfielder Luke Lindsay converted his spot kick to give the Eagles the lead until the 61st minute.  The Eagles defended an STA long throw-in but conceded a corner kick.  The ensuing cornerkick resulted in a scrum at the near post that saw the ball pop out past the six yard box near the back post.  A cheeky touch by the STA scorer of their first goal, prepared his shot and the next touch leveled the game at two to two.  The Eagles pressed for a game winner and had a total of 11 cornerkicks on the night to STA’s five.  The game ended in a 2-2 draw with both teams wondering what could have been.  
The Eagles were seeded #1 in section 5A and play this Saturday at 2PM at Jim Totino Stadium vs a TBD opponent.

In the 2017 Alumni Game 30 TG alums from the graduating classes of 1989 to 2015 participated in the BEAUTIFUL game on a BEAUTIFUL day.  The Yellow Jersey Eagles opened the scoring on a splendid service from Claire Groh ‘08 to reigning Alumni Game attendance and scoring record holder Tim O’Neill ‘89.  Following the goal Tim shared that he was older than the combined age of the two defenders he beat by 3 years if you can follow that math.  Matt Evertz ‘08 scored the second goal.  The White Jersey Eagles’ Anthony Schmidt ‘05 received a quality service from Jen (maiden name) Terry ‘05 to cut the lead in half.  An awesome pass from an awesome Eagle (who was it???) saw a diving header from Schmidt--athletic, agile, anticipatory, and awe-inspiring--pound the ball into the back of the net to level the score.  Team Gold wasn’t done.  Class of 2005 MArio Perez fed Mitch Emch ‘11 for the game winning goal.  The forth and fifth goals came on another assist from Perez ‘05 to Ryan Houglum ‘09.  Team White Jerseys scored their third goal in the final minute of play as Cam Miller ‘13 raced down the wing and beat Jackson Richards ’13 (who unselfishly chose to play goalie in the second half) to end the game 5-3 in favor of Gold Eagles.  Awesome to see everyone!  YOU ARE ALWAYS AN EAGLE!

Eagles Advance to Section Semifinal with Victory Over Brooklyn Center 
The Section 5A Quarterfinal pitted the Brooklyn Center Centaurs (7-6 regular season record)  vs the Eagles (13-1-1).  Thursday the #9 seeded Centaurs defeated the #8 seeded Fridley Tigers with a tight 2-1 result.  The scouting report identified a holding midfielder, a speedy forward and a crafty, penetrating attacker to deal with.  The Eagles pressed high and pressed hard and the first goal came in the 3rd minute when senior defender Matt Hagen put into practice one of the three pregame points: 1-touch win.  Hagen intercepted a pass toward the backline and one-timed it to senior captain midfielder Luke Lindsay.  With a stepover and two touches, Lindsay played a square ball at midfield to senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll who one-touched it to junior forward Herbert Endeley.  Endeley took two touches to play it to the wing ahead of an onrushing sophomore Liam Vance.  Vance surveyed the final third and played a ball to Matzoll who continued his run into the penalty area and appeared to have been pushed down.  While on the ground, not hearing a whistle, Matzoll didn’t stop and helped get the ball to Vance who ran across the top of the 18 yd box and one-timed the bouncing ball into the side of the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.  Off the Centaurs kick off junior forward Eric Krieger pressured the backline allowing Endeley to win the ball, slot a ball to slashing Matzoll toward the left of the goal.  Matzoll’s run lead to his one-time left footed service to Krieger who was rewarded for his defensive efforts with a tap-in goal only 14 seconds later.  Goal number three was the result of long service from an offside freekick by captain center back and senior Jack Vettel.  Matzoll challenged his defender jumping for the airball.  The ball landed next to a running Krieger who touched it wide to Endeley.  Endeley beat his defender around the right wing and played it across to Vance who touched it in with his right to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead in the 30th minute.  Sophomore defender Xavier Savard found junior midfielder Parker Jaeger’s feet on a throw-in.  Jaeger beat two defenders and then played a ball to Krieger’s feet at the top of the penalty arc.  Krieger touched the ball to his left with back to goal.  His attempted right footed kick met Matzoll who touched it to the left of a defender, ran to his right, then shot it hard and low--that gave the Eagles their fourth goal in 32 minutes.  In the 35th minute, a Centaurs cornerkick was won by Vettel who headed toward Lindsay on the Eagles own 6 yd line.  Lindsay promptly commenced a counter attack with a ball to his defenders left, ran around his right, and speed dribbled to midfield where he found Endeley.  Endeley played it square to junior forward Will Cardinal. Cardinal, in a composed and selfless manner, played it between two defenders ahead of Lindsay who was completing his 90 yard run up the right wing.  Lindsay served the ball from the right wing into the box where Endeley 1-timed it past the keeper from 12 yards out.  The Eagles took the five goal lead into the halftime break.  In the 50th minute Endeley collected the ball off an opponent’s foot that Matzoll was pressuring then dribbled through five defenders and beat the goalie to give the Eagles a sixth goal.  In the 55th minute an Eagles corner kick was headed in an attempted clearance toward Endeley.  Endeley chested the ball then volleyed it upper 90 with his left from the corner of the six yard box--a skillfully persuasive finish!   In the 62nd minute a throw-in by junior defender Macallan McSherry was played to sophomore forward Steevie Lamarre outside the corner of the penalty area.  Lamarre chested the ball, turned and with another two touches struck the ball far post to get on the scorer’s sheet.  Senior midfielder Saji Fernandes pressured the defenders in the box, which lead to a shot attempt by Lamarre.  Fernandes stole the ball on the deflection, took a touch and placed it off the inside of the post in the 63rd minute.  In minute 68, sophomore forward Adam Yazbeck began an Eagles counter attack off a Brooklyn Center cornerkick.  He played the ball ahead to junior forward Gavin Jeppesen.  The ball ended up back at Yazbeck’s feet.  He played it square to junior midfielder Jake White. White entered the box with the ball and found Yazbeck.  Yazbeck returned the wall pass and then White’s touch found Jeppesen to the left of the goal.  Jeppesen slotted the ball with his right foot under an onrushing keeper to finish the scoring.  Senior captain Jack O’Dea, senior defender Brandon Kolles, Jaeger, Savard, Vettel, Hagen, and McSherry dealt with Brooklyn Center’s counter attacks and junior keeper Phil Ronza was called upon to win multiple airballs while making four saves on their four shots on goal to earn the team’s seventh shutout in 16 games.  The Eagles play perennial Class A power, #4 seeded Benilde-St. Margaret who defeated Delasalle 3-0 saturday in the rain.  The Section 5A semifinal is Tuesday, Oct 17 at 5PM at Breck School.  Come out and support the Eagles! 

10/17/17  Eagles 5- BSM 1

October usually doesn’t mean 70+degree weather but the Section 5A semifinal saw sunny skies and little to no wind on the impressive 74 yard wide field at Breck.  The #4 seeded Red Knights of Benilde-St. Margaret were the opponent after their 3-0 victory over Delasalle saturday.  Forty-four seconds into the game the Eagles struck first when junior forward Eric Krieger took on his defender on the right wing and the BSM defender knocked it out of bounds.  A quick throw-in by sophomore midfielder Liam Vance found senior captain midfielder Collin Matzoll who got it back to Vance.  Vance scissored his defender then sent it toward goal but junior forward Herbert Endeley collected it on the six and poked it past the surprised Red Knight keeper.  In the 11th minute, Matzoll won the ball off a BSM throw-in and found Endeley at midfield.  Endeley beat a defender and then served it wide to sophomore forward Steevenson Lamarre.  Lamarre had to chase the ball wide before turning to face the penalty area.  He served Matzoll who returned it back to Lamarre and Lamarre directed it far post, side netting.  In the 19th minute the BSM all-star central midfielder raced up the field after a turnover and scored from outside the penalty area to cut the lead in half.  The tide felt as though it had turned until the Eagles regrouped at halftime.  In the 50th minute senior captain centerback Jack Vettel won a header, the BSM midfielder won the next header, but quick thinking junior midfielder Parker Jaeger one-touch-won that ball directly delivering it to the Herbert Express.  From his own defensive half, Endeley took on multiple defenders before persuasively placing it, at pace, side-netting to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead.  Three minutes later Jaeger won an airball that found Matzoll.  Maestro Matzoll touched it forward before delicately serving it over the center back and in the path of an onrushing Lamarre.  Lamarre battled for position and the ball and his last touch forced a second recovering defender to deflect Steevie’s ball into the goal.  Junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza made 6 saves on the night.  In minute 65 he punted a 60 yard blast that bounced once before Maestro Matzoll headed it ahead of Endeley.  Endeley one-time struck it on the run and on the half volley with aplomb and determination.  The leadership of senior captains Luke Lindsay, Jack O’dea, Vettel, and Matzoll set the tone on the evening and result means the Eagles earned the opportunity to play for the section title.  The Eagles are grateful for the spirited crowd and look forward to Thursday!
The game is Thursday night at 7PM (following the conclusion of the 5PM girls section championship Blake vs. BSM) at Osseo High Schoo vs. the #3 seed Breck Mustangs who defeated #2 seeded Blake Bears tonight.  
Come out and support the Eagles and cheer them on to State!


Eagles Soar to Accomplish Goal #2: Section Championship with 2-1 victory over Breck
The weather cooperated, the fans were boisterous and spirited.  The student section  invented a soccer stadium version chant/song with the only lyric being “O’Dea!” Cornerkick practices came in handy, and the Eagles are headed to the state tournament for the 9th time in school history and first time since 2013.
The intensity was high and the numerous attendees spoke of how highly entertaining the match was for all who experienced the rollercoaster of this year’s section 5A final.  There were dramatic ascensions, sudden drops, unpredictable twists and turns, as well as physics-defying shots and saves.  From one end you could name the evening ‘The night of the goalkeeper’--as both the Mustangs keeper and junior Phil Ronza kept their teams on the track with  split second saves, acrobatic reaches, and intelligent and booming services.  Unofficially, the Eagles had 11 shots on goal to Breck’s four.  The opening minutes saw chances at both ends and aggressive and energetic play throughout the field.  The first half was at times frenetic, at times end to end, and throughout, an exciting high school soccer game!  A TG throw-in from near their own penalty area went from Hagen to Jaeger back to Hagen and again back to Jaeger who found winger Steevie Lamarre checking to the ball near the wing.  Lamarre touched the ball into the path of Endeley who took it from there.  Beating multiple defenders, Endeley was in on goal and slotted it home to give the Eagles their first lead of the game in minute 53.  Eight minutes later the Mustangs were awarded a free kick outside the corner of the penalty area.  A well-served ball found the head of a Mustang who was tightly marked but managed to head it, bar down, to tie the game.  The Eagles, who played a sharper second half, knew they had at least another goal in them.  They hit the crossbar, the post, and also nearly missed scoring multiple times.  With 15 minutes remaining the Eagles earned a cornerkick thanks to Krieger’s foray down the wing.  Endeley drove a ball into the box and Hagen’s deceptive run concluded with a pounding header that tickled the back of the ol’ onion bag and sent the Eagles faithful jumping for joy.  The Eagles managed to limit the Mustang’s chances the rest of the way to win the section 5A championship.  Seeding for the state tournament is Saturday morning.  Details will be shared by Sunday.
Go Eagles!

10/24/17Eagles Tame Wildcats in State Quarterfinal
The goal for the day was to do what is necessary to “get to The Bank!”  It was the coldest climate the Eagles had played in this year with the temperature hovering around 42 degrees with 14-16 mile per hour wind that helped #5 seed Worthington go up 2-0 on #4 seed Orono the first half of the 5:30 quarterfinal.  Orono scored two in the second half and then the game winner in overtime.  That result delayed the start of the Eagles vs. the Wildcats.  The Eagles were ready to deal with Class A Mr. Soccer Finalist Nils Gulbranson who entered the game with 39 goals this season.  The Eagles began their journey to Farmington with a sendoff that included a Fridley police escort to 694.  The traffic-laden journey didn’t prevent the team from entering the match ready to compete.  The first goal came off a cheeky penetration from the left wing by Herbert Endeley to a crafty run by Steevie Lamarre to put the Eagles up 1-0 17 minutes into the match.  Eight minutes later Matzoll found Endeley on the wing and Endeley danced his way through multiple defenders and blasted the ball top shelf to double the lead.  In the waning moments of the first half a shot by Endeley was saved by the Wildcats keeper but the rebound was directly in front of Lamarre who tapped home his team’s third goal of the evening.  In the 70th minute a free kick from the left by Luke Lindsay connected with Matt-Header-Hagen, who drove it past the keeper. Centerbacks Jacks (Vettel & O’Dea) along with Savard, Hagen, and Kolles limited the difficult shots that Phil Ronza dealt with to help the Eagles earn their 8th shutout in 19 games.  Ronza had 5 important saves and a number of grabs, interceptions, and quality distributions to help start the Eagles attack.  The midfield of Jaeger, Lindsay, and Matzoll helped keep the pressure on Chisago Lakes and senior Saji Fernandes and junior Jake White fortified that midfield when they were called upon.  The Eagles will play Orono HS at noon on Monday at US Bank Stadium.  Come out and cheer on the Eagles to earn a place in the State Championship match scheduled for 11/2 at 10AM.  Go Eagles!  I am because we are!

State semifinal
TG 3-Orono 2 OT

The last few indoor training sessions included prayers of gratitude that it is the end of October and we continue to get to play a game we love, with teammates we love, at a school we love.  The Eagles were returning to their first state semifinal since 2008 in hopes of earning the opportunity to earn a third star--the symbol of a state championship in loosely translated soccer symbolism.  Germany, Brazil, the US Women sport their stars on their jerseys.  The Eagles have two stars on the wall in the locker room and on their scarves.  The noon kickoff at US Bank Stadium was slightly delayed but the Eagles were poised to battle a strong and determined Orono foe.  “The Final Countdown” was the tune the Eagles band played during warmups and the team supported each other in honoring the gravity of a state semifinal AND reminding one another that the goals are the same size, the ball is the ball, and the turf field is just a little newer than most of the turf fields we played on this season (and this one will host some important NFL football game in February).  The opening minutes saw each team feel one another out and attempt penetrating passes that put one another’s backlines under pressure.  The Eagles keeper may have been the busier of the two goalies but the Eagles had 3 cornerkicks in the first 5 minutes to put pressure on Orono.  In minute 11,  an Eagles throw-in at midfield was sufficiently passed up field by the likes of Krieger, Lamarre, Jaeger, Matzoll, and Savard.  A service from Jaeger to Endeley was deflected right to Lamarre who slotted it into the path of Endeley.  He took his defender laterally across the penalty box and then struck it with his right foot far post  past the keeper to give the Eagles the 1-0 advantage.  Orono leveled the game ten minutes later on a long throw that was flicked into a crowded near post.  Orono took the lead after the Eagles attempted to clear a cornerkick that was intercepted by an Orono attacker.  In quick fashion he sliced a ball between Eagles backline into the path of a well-timed run by an Orono attacker who slotted it home with 64 seconds left in the first half.  The Eagles pressure on Orono’s end might be measured in cornerkicks: The Eagles had 12 on the night to Orono’s two.  More telling was the 19 shots to Orono’s six.  With under ten minutes remaining the Eagles pulled a defender to add a striker.  Senior captain Jack O’Dea demonstrated ‘I am because we are’ by hustling off the field faster than any sub this season.  It was a team-first action in an effort to make the most of each remaining moment.  An Orono player earned his second yellow after an unnecessary studs up collision with Ronza with just under 5 minutes to go in regulation.  With 3:15 remain an Eagle throwin was played to MAtzoll, Matzoll played it back to Hagen.  The ball was sent toward the box by Hagen.  Endeley flippantly lifted it with the outside of his boot off the bounce. The airborne ball traveled toward the penalty spot where it was authoritatively redirected to the keeper’s right side by Lindsay--the surprise and pace was too much.  The ball struck the keeper’s hands and rolled into the back of the net to tie the match.  Immediately O’Dea confirmed that he should return to the game at center back and the drive to the championship continued.  Regulation ended 2-2 with a palpable momentum shift in favor of the Eagles.  Prior to the golden goal OT, the team spent a minute with eyes closed, lying on the Vikings turf, focusing on their breathing and the opportunity at hand.  Some said it was a meditation, others a prayer, others detachment...whatever you call it, it ended with a huddle that wound up singing/chanting the overtime mantra: “we don’t care who, we don’t care who, we don’t care who scores!”  With 4 minutes remaining in the first overtime an Orono foul in the Eagles penalty box gave the Eagles a chance to play the ball on the floor from Vettel to Hagen to Matzoll to Jaeger up the field.  Jaeger participated in what might be a 1v1 battle against the boards trying to hold onto a puck but this was soccer and the ref’s decision to not call a foul for either side was surprising.  The ball popped out, Matzoll collected it, played it straight ahead to Lamarre at the top of the Orono penalty area.  Lamarre twisted his defender and was in on goal.  The keeper deflected Lamarre’s shot toward the penalty spot where Endeley one timed it upper 90 to win the game!   The bench, the 11 on the field, and the fans erupted in euphoria!  The sprint to the front of the Eagles section may have demonstrated the miraculous healing of multiple injured members of the Eagles family.  The team is very grateful to the spirited fans, the alums, the families, and the friends who witnessed quite an entertaining state tournament game. 
The opportunity to earn a third star is Thursday at 10am at US Bank Stadium.  Come early in case ticket lines are long.  Go Eagles!  I am because we are

God Blesses You,



Thanks to those who have emailed and texted messages of support and encouragement thus far.  I read em to the team and they mean A LOT!  So please keep em coming--any thoughts, advice, ideas, memories... they could be about playoffs or state or they could be about preseason or pasta feeds, season slogans or any Eagles soccer memories . . . they help us connect our experience to what YOU have built since 1982, they help us focus for 80+ min and they are creating a very special experience for an awesome team of Eagles!  They don't need to be long at all--please consider it. Thanks in advance!


State Championship
11/2/17 TG v STA

The night before the game the team trained indoors and Landon, Keagan, and Maguire Vance helped remind the team about the feelings we had playing soccer when we were younger--the unadulterated JOY of the ball at our feet . . . Training consisted of nearly 50 minutes of defending long throws in anticipation of STA’s aerial attack--that preparing of our defense also gave reps to our offense which yielded the sweetest fruit the next morning: the game’s only goal which we will hear more about later. At 7:15 the team met in the TG soccer locker room to tunes blaring and a vibe of comfortable confidence. The coaches arranged the equipment. The team circled up and named all the feelings we were feeling and pointed out that they were all the correct things to be feeling at that moment. With each part of the morning the coaches invited the players to narrow the focus as kickoff drew nearer. The police escort lead the TG bus to the highway and the team was guided through the stadium security for the second time in a week--what a blessing!
The walk to the locker room allowed the MSHSL representative to tell the Eagles that playing in a state championship is a great honor and win or lose there is nothing to hang your head about. He talked about the medal ceremony and reminded us of the memories we were creating. He shared that in his many years of high school coaching he made it to one section championship where his team lost in a shootout--and he remembers every detail. The boys listened while wondering what memories being created this day would feel like in five or 25 years . . . The pregame focus took place, the talk invited the players to remember that the game is determined on the field and our team has prepared long and hard for this moment. The referees inspected the uniforms, the boys did some dynamic warmups in the locker room and then made their way onto the field. The band played “Final Countdown” as students and Eagles supporters found their seats. The starting lineups were announced but the Eagles couldn’t hear their names due to the combination of acoustics and cheering fans from both sides.
Within one minute Steevenson Lamarre was taken down outside STA’s box and his free kick into the box found Herbert Endeley’s head. Endeley’s header went past the reach of the STA keeper’s outstretched hand, just wide of the post. In the eighth minute Endeley quickly served a throw-in down the left flank from midfield. An STA defender battled Lamarre for the ball and ended up heading it out of bounds. Senior defender Matt Hagen served a long, direct throw-in that senior captain Collin Matzoll flicked on. Lamarre’s quick-reaction-diving header acrobatically redirected Matzoll’s flick past the STA keeper--much to the surprise of the stunned group of defenders. The Eagles went up 1-0. While the announcer was crediting the goal, the Cadets wasted no time in driving down the right side of the field and serving the ball across the top of the 18 yard box. The Eagles cleared the ball but a turnover at midfield resulted in a perfectly weighted and accurately served thruball to a wide-open Cadet who was in on net. While the Eagles fans inhaled with a collective “Oh no,” junior goalkeeper Phil Ronza performed his Manuel Neuer slide tackle 5 yards outside the penalty area--clearing the ball and communicating to all in attendance that he was locked in with a level of concentration required of a state champion.
A couple of minutes later a ball up the left wing was flicked onto Endeley from Lamarre. Endeley ‘sombreroed’ his defender then struck a half volley outside the corner of the penalty area that streaked toward goal but sailed over the crossbar. Near the 20th minute the Cadets penetrated quickly down the left wing where senior captain centerback Jack O’dea executed a strong and fair tackle, winning the ball then causing the opponent to go down just outside the side of the penalty box seven yards from the endline. The referee deemed it a foul and the Cadets took a dangerous free kick right at the two man wall then out of bounds for one of STA’s eight cornerkicks. The cornerkick traveled toward the far corner of the six yard box where a Cadet headed it back toward the opposite post . The ball beat numerous defenders and Ronza but sophomore outside back Xavier Savard stopped it--imagine Superman’s puffed-out chest with the ball striking his abdomen. Save of the game? Savard’s torso of steel, marking the back post, blocked the ball while the Eagles fans cheered in both relief and excitement. St. Thomas continued to work ball through the midfield to earn looks at goal but the half ended with the Eagles protecting a 1-0 lead.
The second half saw the Cadets push more numbers forward. Within the first 10 minutes a few long throws and dangerous cornerkicks were thwarted by the stout Eagles backline and the focus of Ronza. In the 48th minute a nifty give-n-go authored by Collin Matzoll on the top of the penalty area resulted in his right footed shot powerfully glancing beyond the near post. The keeper was beat but the ball zoomed past the outside of the post. The Cadets best chance of the second half came off a cornerkick that was cleared by the Eagles directly to the feet of a Cadet just inside the penalty area at the far side. The STA attacker took a touch to his left foot then struck it with authority. As it traveled toward the far side-netting, Ronza once again demonstrated acrobatic agility in quickly diving to his right and forcing the quality strike over the crossbar. Man of the match? The Cadets ensuing cornerkick was headed well wide of the target. The goal kick following that series of opportunities for STA included a long service from senior captain centerback Jack Vettel. The ball found Lamarre who headed it wide to junior winger Eric Krieger. Krieger drew his defender toward the sideline then played a support pass to Matzoll. Matzoll one-timed a chip to Endeley. Three defenders were collapsing on Endeley but he still created space to turn and release a right-footed blast that narrowly missed the target.
The Eagles were absorbing pressure and then finding moments to counter. As STA pushed for the equalizer, the Eagles created another chance. Senior defender Matt Hagen won a Cadet throw-in about 35 yards out from the Eagles goal. Matzoll served a high, lobbing ball forward off of Hagen’s header, where Endeley headed it further up field to Lamarre who posted his defender up. Lamarre laid the ball off for the oncoming Endeley who was off to the races from just inside the Eagles attacking half. Endeley literally shook a tugging defender off with his right arm then cut the ball left into the penalty area and struck it ‘lefty-power.’ The Cadet keeper boldly blocked it away from the goal where Lamarre temporarily dispossessed an STA defender before having the ball taken away to prevent a second attempt at goal. In the 59th minute, a dangerous Cadet free kick from 30 yards out was punched away by Ronza which started a quick counter thanks to senior midfielder Saji Fernades astute clearance in the direction of Lamarre. Lamarre gained control and then tried a through ball to Endeley at midfield but the numbers surrounding Endeley proved too much for the service to connect.
With under ten minutes to go multiple Eagle counter attacks helped give time for the Eagles defense to regroup. A clearance ahead received by Krieger resulted in a quick turn and dribble around toward the right wing. Enough space was created for Krieger to blast a right footed strike toward goal where the Cadet keeper could only react quickly enough to unintentionally deflect it over the crossbar. The Eagles were searching for an insurance goal as the Cadets pressed for the equalizer. In the waning minutes the desperation surfaced: one team desperate to hold on to the one goal lead, the other attempting to level the score and shift the momentum. The Eagles earned two cornerkicks and the Cadets penetrated the final third but couldn’t register a shot on net in the final 20 minutes. An Eagle foul in Cadet defensive third with just seconds remaining resulted in an STA long free kick that bounced once before the final whistle. The Eagles are the 2017 MSHSL Class A State Champions! The Eagles finished the treble: conference, section, and state title! A magical journey full of grace, sacrifice, good fortune, quality leadership and soccer talent.

At the Eagles Program banquet the following quote was used to describe each varsity player’s contribution to the season full of joy, gratitude, love and determination:

“I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
Helen Keller

I am because we are

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