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As the Watertown-Mayer girls soccer program has continued to rise up to become one of the top teams in the state, the Royals have managed to pile up first time achievements each year. While it has been their first winning record, their first home playoff game, their first playoff win and their first trip to the section championship, Watertown-Mayer has also continued to pick up their first wins over opponents that they have never beaten. Two weeks ago it was a 2-0 win over Waconia and last week it was a 2-0 win over Monticello.

“It was definitely a really big thing especially for our seniors,” said Maris Heun. “We’re checking them off the list - we checked off Orono, who we never beat, we checked off Waconia, for us seniors, we never beat Monticello, so that was a first too.”

Reaching these milestones has been a point of pride and something the Royals have worked hard to achieve.

“It’s really cool to build up to something new every year,” said Mercedes Burmeiester. “This is something that we’ve been working on since we’ve joined the program, so being able to achieve that is something really good.”

In the Oct. 7 meeting with Monticello, it was a back-and-forth game between the two sides during the opening minutes. Nearing the midway point in the first half, both sides had possessed the ball and sent attacks forward. But a pair of quick strikes by the Royals turned the game on its head, with Watertown-Mayer controlling play for much of the rest of the game.

“We played with really good intensity,” said Burmeiester. “We played slow at the start, but we picked it up.”

Ava Danielson scored first on an assist from Megan Barnhart, then assisted Heun just moments later to give the Royals a 2-0 lead that they would hold for the remainder of the game. Hailey Volkart made five saves in net to combine with Laney Hillman for the shutout in net.

With the win, the Royals finished the season with a 12-3-1 record, a strong mark after losing a talented senior class and playing lots of young players.

“We had to fill some holes,” said Heun. “We had some big names in our seniors and the younger girls had to step it up. You could see their hard work at practice and I think they’re doing a really good job.”

The Royals credit their success to the team chemistry, which has seen a boost this season. With a full schedule and more opponents to play, the Royals have had more chances to build on the team chemistry.

“It definitely helps with team bonding because we get to go to Becker, which is an hour ride so we’re in buses together, we’re singing together, we’re dancing together,” said Heun. “That’s why I think we are playing so well as a team right now, because you have that extra team chemistry.”

Watertown-Mayer earned the No. 3 seed for the Section 6A Tournament, hosting No. 6 Rockford Oct. 14. The winner takes on No. 2 Holy Family Catholic or No. 7 Providence Academy Oct. 16. The section championship is set for Oct. 19. The other half of the bracket is No. 1 Southwest Christian vs No. 8 Mayer Lutheran or No. 9 United Christian Academy and No. 4 Heritage Christian Academy vs. No. 5 Eagle Ridge Academy.

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