Monday, October 16, 2017

SLP Orioles-DeLaSalle Islanders Football Preview

One thing that's certain about the final regular season football game that pits the St. Louis Park Orioles and the DeLaSalle Islanders is that both teams will finish with at least a .500 record.

Both teams have records of 4-3 as they will battle on Wednesday, October 18 at 7 PM in Minneapolis.

The Orioles were in New Brighton last Friday and came away with a big win against a possible Section 5AAAAA opponent the Irondale Knights 16-13.  Skyler Rudelius-Palmer kicked a 28 yard game winning field goal to lead the Orioles to a very possible No. 2 seed in the section and a semifinal game they will host on the 28th at 1 PM.

St. Louis Park trailed 13-3 at halftime and following a scoreless third quarter, they got on the board on Rudelius-Palmer's 29 yard field goal.  Then it was quarterback Johnny Sorenson who threw a 21 yard touchdown pass to his fellow hockey teammate Ryan Klaers to even the score at 13.  Rudelius-Palmer would boot the game winning field with no time left on the clock to give head coach Ben Wolfe perhaps his biggest win in his tenure at St. Louis Park.

As for the Islanders, they were ousted by the Orono Spartans last Friday 52-13. Just like St. Louis Park, two of their three losses were to Holy Angels and Benilde-St. Margaret's.

The Islanders have a dual threat running back in Sage Booker.  He ran for 91 yards and caught four passes for 27 yards.  DeLaSalle will need to have a big game from Booker and St. Louis Park will have to continue their momentum following their big win against Irondale.  Sorenson, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 173 yards has thrown nine touchdown passes and could reach double figures against the Islanders.

It should be a nice , warm October night in Minneapolis so if you haven't seen the Oriole football team this season, get out to the banks of the Mississippi River to see the Orioles battle the Islanders.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A State Tournament Berth is Possible for SLP Oriole Boys Soccer Team

St. Louis Park boys soccer fans can head up to Plymouth Tuesday night as the Orioles battle the Wayzata Trojans in the Section 6AA championship game at approximately 7 PM.

The game is proceeded by the Section 6AA girls final  that's a rematch of last year's championship game as Wayzata, top seed and the top ranked team in Class AA battles the Minneapolis Washburn Millers.  The Trojans, who have given up only four goals all season shut out the Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders 3-0 and the Millers ended St. Louis Park's season with a 2-0 win.

The Orioles earned their trip to the section finals with a 3-1 win over the Minneapolis Washburn Millers 3-1.  Zinedine Kroeten and Isaak Kimmel scored for St. Louis Park.  The Trojans got a goal from Ethan Wagner and it turned out to be the game winner as Wayzata beat the Minneapolis Southwest Lakers 1-0.

Can St. Louis Park top the Trojans and head to the state tournament the following week? Find out Tuesday night.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SLP Orioles-Irondale Knights Football Preview

Coming off a huge win in the regular season home finale against the Orono Spartans last Friday, the St. Louis Park Orioles go on the road for their final two games, starting with a trip to New Brighton to take on the emerging Irondale Knights this Friday at 7 PM.

Though the Orioles played before a sparse crowd on a wet Friday night, they got an outstanding finish as Johnny Sorenson threw a 41 yard touchdown pass to Akili Farris with 1:07 to play and Peyton Morrison stopped the Spartans potential game winning drive with an interception to preserve a 16-14 win.

Sorenson, who completed 11 of 20 passes for 218 yards also had 54 rushing yards.  This season, he has accumulated 1,174 and has shown outstanding mobility since taking over the quarterback spot from the graduated Logan Romero.  He will need to have a big game against the Knights, who go into the game with a record of 4-2.

Last Friday, Irondale got two fourth quarter touchdowns from Parker Freiberg to rally the Knights but they came up short against the   Henry Sibley Spartans 23-20.  He also rushed for 168 yards and has broken the 100 rushing yard mark in four straight games that also concludes seven touchdowns.  He got off to a slow start in the season opener against the North St. Paul Polars as he was held to 46 yards rushing but he did reach the end zone.  The junior running back has huge potential and he has 787 yards on the ground and is on pace to break the 1000 yard mark and also the school rushing record of 1,150 yards that was set by Joe Ruegsegger in 1996.

The key to the Orioles surpassing the .500 mark going into the regular season finale against the DeLaSalle Islanders is to shut down Freiberg and play strong defense.  When you look at Irondale's success this season, in three of their four wins, they have scored 35 points and they scored 34 in the other.  The Knights are also in the Orioles section and there could be a rematch come late October. But before section play begins October 24, Irondale wraps up their season against the unbeaten and third ranked team in Class AAAAA the Cooper Hawks.

Fortunately, the weather picture has no rain in the forecast.  Can St. Louis Park pull off the upset?

SLP Oriole Soccer Teams Advance in Section 6AA Tournament

The 2017 Section 6AA Soccer tournament opened Thursday night in St. Louis Park with a couple of close quarterfinal games that saw the girls hold off a strong second half Armstrong rally and the boys winning in a shootout.

The girls began the evening's proceedings with a balanced scoring attack and holding off a rally by the Armstrong Falcons that led them to a 3-2 win.

Rafferty Kugler put the Orioles on the board when she received a centering pass from Anika Hanson and she lined it to the goal to give St. Louis Park a 1-0 halftime lead.

The Orioles would go up by three with two second half goals.  First was Alex Balfour who dribbled the ball downfield and went through a couple of Falcon defenders to put the ball into the net.  Then Lola Ruff would feed Anna Jennisen and she would go top shelf to score.  But Armstrong was not out of the game.  Following a St. Louis Park foul, Elise Gallup was awarded a penalty kick and she put it past Oriole goalkeeper Olivia Massie.  The Falcons would cut the lead to one as Jessica Hanley sent the ball to Julia Osborne and she lined a shot that deflected off of Massie and entered the net.  There wouldn't be a chance to send the game into overtime since they didn't get the tying goal.

St. Louis Park improved their record to 10-4-1 and advances to the semifinals on Saturday, October 14 in Minneapolis against the Washburn Millera at 1 PM.  Armstrong concludes their season with a record of 6-10.

Now to the boys game as there were zeros on the scoreboard throughout regulation time and even overtime that sent the game into a shootout where Thomas Salamzadeh scored in the fourth round to lead the Orioles to a 1-0 win over the Minneapolis South Tigers.

It was a rematch of the August 29th game where the Orioles shut out the Tigers 2-0.

Nobody scored in the first half.  Same with the second half and the two 10 minute overtime periods, thus setting up a five player shootout.  Oriole goalkeeper William Phelan made a couple of outstanding saves and St. Louis Park got goals from Zinedine Kroeten, Randy Mayele, Alex Ruiz Shimada and Salamzadeh to put the Tigers away and win the shootout 4-2.

The Orioles improve their record to 11-4-1 and also head to Minneapolis on the 14th to battle the Washburn Millers at 3 PM.  The Tigers lost their third straight game and end the season 5-9-2.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 Section 6AA Soccer Tournament Preview

The road to the state tournament gets underway Thursday for the teams in the 2017 Section 6AA Soccer Tournament.  Here's a preview of the pairings in both the girls and boys tournaments.

First up is the girls quarterfinal pairings and the top seed is the Wayzata Trojans as they face the eighth seeded Minneapolis South Tigers.  The Trojans, under veteran head coach Tony Pesznecker are unbeaten with a record of 12-0-3.  Two of the ties were against the Edina Hornets and the other was against the Minnetonka Skippers.  The Trojans not only the top seed in the section, they are also the number one team in Class AA. They are also one of the most difficult teams to score against as their tough and talented defense has give up only four goals in the regular season.  They face a Tiger team that has had trouble putting the ball in the net as they were shut out by Minneapolis Washburn and St. Paul Academy in their last two games.  Keep an eye on Wayzata.  They could be on the road to adding another trophy to their case at the Plymouth campus.

In the second quarterfinal game, the fifth seeded Hopkins Royals head to St. Paul to face the fourth seeded Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders. It's a rematch of a game played September 5 with the Raiders beating the Royals 2-1.  Hopkins has been on a two game winning streak with victories over Lake Conference rivals Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.  Cretin-Derham Hall has recovered from a 1-5 start to finish 5-8-2.  Can the Royals continue their momentum against the Raiders?

Heading to the lower bracket as the sixth seeded Armstrong Falcons heads to St. Louis Park to battle the third seeded Orioles.  The Falcons won three consecutive games before getting shut out by Wayzata in the regular season finale.  The Orioles will try to end a season ending two game losing streak where they lost to powerhouses Benilde-St. Margaret's and Minneapolis Washburn.  Prior to the last two games, St. Louis Park was on a 9-0-1 run.  They got outstanding goalkeeping from senior Olivia Massie who has recorded six shutouts.  They are a talented team with good young talent that could be a contender.

And in the final quarterfinal matchup, it's the Battle of Minneapolis as the seventh seeded Southwest Lakers take on the second seeded Washburn Millers.  It's the third meeting between the two conference rivals with the Millers on top in both games.  Washburn has been on a outstanding scoring run since they lost to the East Ridge Raptors on September 13.  They have scored 25 unanswered goals and outscored their opponents 46-6.  The Millers, ranked second in Class AA could set up a championship showdown with the top seeded Trojans.

Now it's on to the boys quarterfinal pairings as the top seeded Wayzata Trojans go up against the ninth seeded Richfield Spartans.  In March, the section was realigned to included nine teams and Richfield advance via a play-in game victory over the Hopkins Royals.  Over the last seven games, the Trojans have outscored the opposition 26-2.  As for the Spartans, they have not won a game since they shut out the Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights 2-0 on September 7.  The Trojans are the team to beat in Section 6AA

Looking at the second game, the fifth seeded Minneapolis Southwest Lakers face the fourth seeded Bloomington Kennedy Eagles.  The Lakers hope to end a two game losing streak against the Eagles, a newcomer to the section.  Kennedy was on a role early in the season as they got off to a 6-2 start, including an overtime loss to Holy Angels.  A key section win came on September 12 when they shut out the St. Louis Park Orioles 1-0.  Are the Eagles for real and can they contend with Wayzata if they beat Southwest?

As for the third seeded Orioles, they enter quarterfinal play against a team they beat 2-0 on August 29, the sixth seeded Minneapolis South Tigers.  St. Louis Park has really improved on last season winning 10 games, compared with three.  They have also played outstanding soccer, winning six of seven games before falling to the Minneapolis Washburn Millers in the regular season finale.  The Tigers got off to a slow start at 0-5 and have gone 5-3-2 heading into section play.  The two losses came to nonconference opponents Hastings and Blake.  Can South pull off the upset or will St. Louis Park get back on track and play solid defense against the Tigers?

Wrapping up the quarterfinals is the second seeded Minneapolis Washburn Millers and the seventh seeded Armstrong Falcons.  The Millers got off to a hot start going 6-0-2 before they lost to Wayzata 1-0.  However, they concluding the season with a three game losing streak and hope to increase it to four against the Falcons, who have go 2-5 in their last seven games.  They have played only one game against a section opponent, the Minneapolis Southwest Lakers on September 20 and came up short 2-1.  Washburn could be a huge test for Plymouth based Armstrong, the only section team from the Northwest Suburban Conference.

Section play gets underway Thursday, October 12.  Get outside and enjoy exciting high school soccer as the road to the state tournament gets exciting.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Learning for Leadership Mustangs Eliminate Groves Academy Griffins

Playing without reserve players, Learning for Leadership's "Iron 11" got a balanced scoring attack as the Mustangs shut out the Groves Academy Griffins 3-0 in the Play-In Game in the 2017 Section 5A Boys Soccer Tournament Monday night at Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park.

The Mustangs lone first hal goal came on a line drive shot from Kafi Abdi to give them a 1-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, Learning for Leadership had to play short handed a couple of times due to injuries and yellow card violations but they still managed to put Groves Academy away with a pair of goals.  Farah Ahmed picked up a loose ball and placed it into the net to put the Mustangs ahead by two and Neymar Mohamed found an opening while Griffin goalkeeper Robert Hall was playing far out of net to end the scoring with :49.1 left.

The Mustangs improve their record to 3-5 and advance to the first round against the Brooklyn Center Centaurs on Tuesday, October 10 at 7 PM in Brooklyn Center.  The Griffins conclude their season with a record of 5-8-1.

Friday, October 6, 2017

SLP Orioles Hit High Note in Regular Season Home Finale

A fantastic finish to the 2017 home season for the St. Louis Park Orioles took place Friday night as Johnny Sorenson threw a touchdown pass to Akili Farris with 1:07 to play that led the Orioles to a 16-14 win over the Orono Spartans.

The Orioles had a chance to score first as they lined up for a Skyler Rudelius-Palmer field goal.  Instead, it was a fake field goal and St. Louis Park would come up empty.  There would be good news for Orioles fans when Sorenson would dash into the end zone on a 28 yard keeper that would be the only scoring of the first half.  St. Louis Park would lead 7-0 at halftime.

Both teams would score in the third quarter.  The Orioles would go up by 10 on Rudelius-Palmer's 36 yard field goal that ricocheted off the crossbar and go through the uprights.  The Spartans would counter on Nick Prenticc's 17 yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Omersa with 1:02 left in the third quarter that cut the St. Louis Park lead to 10-7.

Omersa would help put Orono in the lead in the fourth quarter as he caught a Prentice pass on fourth down and 11 that wound spot the ball at the St. Louis Park one yard line.  Fisher Eiss would complete the drive with a two yard touchdown run to put the Spartans in front 14-10.  It would be the Orioles turn on offense on Senior Night and a chance to send the sparse crowd home happy on a wet Friday night.  The fans would get there chance as Sorenson arced a 41 yard pass to Farris and he would enter the end zone to give St. Louis Park the lead.  But wait.  The Spartans would get the ball and they had an opportunity to get into at least field goal range for a possible victory.  There would be no celebration going down I-394 for Orono as Prentice's pass was intercepted by Peyton Morrison with :25.7 remaining and that would cap the home season.

Both teams records are now 3-3 and return to action on Friday, October 13.  The Orioles travel to New Brighton to take on the Irondale Knights and the Spartans host the DeLaSalle Islanders at Pesonen Stadium.  Game times are 7 PM.