Eden Prairie High girls soccer coach Jessica Mueller had a clear game plan for a match against No. 1-ranked Edina Sept. 5 at EP’s Aerie Stadium.
The Eagles threw a vine over Edina’s two best players, senior Sophia Boman and sophomore Maddie Dahlien, and for the most part the plan worked to perfection, even though EP ended up on the short end of a 1-0 score. The result left Edina 6-0-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the Lake Conference and Eden Prairie 2-1-2 overall and 1-1-0 in the Lake.
“We told our players that they had to be aware of Sophie and Maddie, and at times, we closed down their space really well,” Mueller said.
Dahlien had two prime scoring chances in the match - one in each half - and she scored the only goal in the 12th minute on a left-footed shot. She had a similar shot in the second half, missing just a foot or so right of the net.
While Eden Prairie held Edina to eight shots on goal, the Eagles officially had no shots on goal. When they appeared to get one in the second half, and it didn’t show up on the scoreboard, there was a minor protest from EP’s crowd.
“We never pray for moral victories,” Mueller said. “This is the best Edina team I’ve seen. They move the ball really well, and their center backs are so organized.”
Eden Prairie’s best defensive player, captain Rachel Boelke, missed the second half of the Edina game with an injury, but senior Kenna Markle and sophomore Keira Christiensen, took on Edina’s challenge.
“The pressure under the lights didn’t get to Keira,” Mueller said. “She played great and so did Kenna.”
Midfielder Myra Moorjani did her part to disrupt Edina’s offense, and senior goalie Sarah Kurtenbach starred with her seven saves.
Two days before the Edina game, Eden Prairie traveled to Buffalo and beat the newcomer to the Lake Conference 2-1.
“I expected it would be a tough game,” Mueller said. “It was the first day of school and a long bus ride up there. The field was smaller than the ones we’re used to, and there wasn’t a lot of room to move the ball. Give Buffalo credit, they came out hard and scored the first goal. I thought they did an awesome job.”
Next for Eden Prairie is a Lake Conference match against Hopkins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at Hopkins High Stadium. The Eagles will return to their home field for a match against Wayzata at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Aerie. A footnote to this game is that coach Mueller played high school soccer for coach Tony Peszneker at Wayzata.
Asked about Wayzata’s uncharacteristic 8-0 loss to Edina last week, Mueller said, “I would never, ever count Wayzata out.”
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