In a battle for men only Oct. 3 at Minnetonka’s Einer Anderson Stadium, the Edina High boys soccer team assured itself the No. 1 seed for the Section 2AA Tournament by edging Minnetonka 3-2.
Two players fueled the competitive fire of their respective teams. Senior captain Will Swanda scored two goals for Edina, including the game-winner late in the second half. Junior forward Dylan Olson of Minnetonka scored back to back goals in the 54th and 56th minutes to keep the Skippers in the game.
“We played with heart and passion today,” Swanda said after the match. Edina’s 16-0-0 record has given the Hornets not only the Lake Conference title, but also a clear No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
“You have to play all 80 minutes anytime you play against Minnetonka,” Swanda continued. “I’m not going to lie - I was nervous when they tied the score 2-2 in the second half. But then we calmed down and played our game. I can’t even describe how good it feels to be undefeated and share the experience with 25 brothers [teammates].”
Eddy Rosenthal scored Edina’s other goal. Ryan Swanda, Jordan Carter, Matt Mason and Jackson Holley led Edina’s defensive effort in front of goalie Hank Stechmann.
Olson and captains Niko Scheibal and Andres Rivas led Minnetonka’s effort with strong support from Pedro Ce’, Jake Herbert, George Lindberg, Alec Rodriguez, Jackson Schroeder, Hunter Kemnitz and goalie Kai Haroldson.
From Minnetonka’s perspective, a playoff rematch against Edina is a distinct possibility.
“It is always such a hard-fought battle with Edina,” Olson said. “We won’t change anything when we play them again.”
“Everybody knows what these games are like,” Minnetonka captain Scheibal said.
Scheibal has a broken nose, but there is no way he would ever miss a game against Edina. He put on a mask and went after headers with his usual intensity. It was Scheibal who had the assist on Olson’s second goal of the match. On the first goal, Rivas assisted with a chip over the top to Olson, who took the ball at full speed and put a quick shot in the net.
While wearing a mask is not something Scheibal anticipated doing anytime this season, he said he is getting used to it.
“It affects my peripheral vision some,” he said. “And that limits my options.”
Head coaches Dave Jenson of Edina and Mike Rogers of Minnetonka get as keyed up for the rivalry as their players. While Edina has gone undefeated so far, Minnetonka is right there with an 11-2-3 overall mark.
“It has always been hard for us to win over here,” Jenson said after the match. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a player take over a game like Will Swanda did tonight.”
“There is always nervous anticipation for an Edina-Tonka game,” Edina assistant coach Billy Garner said. “We always expect Minnetonka to come ready. Dylan Olson is a great player. On one of his goals, we anticipated an offside call, but didn’t get it. Lesson learned. We have to play to the whistle.”
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