Big victory keeps Blaze undefeated

Girls soccer team scores twice in final 12 minutes against Eastview

Burnsville’s Amanda Hartmann (right) turns upfield with Eastview’s Jazzy Chanthalakeo and Emily Sutliff in pursuit. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy
Burnsville’s Amanda Hartmann (right) turns upfield with Eastview’s Jazzy Chanthalakeo and Emily Sutliff in pursuit. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Burnsville vs. Eastview in girls soccer might be the least acrimonious rivalry in the South Suburban Conference.

After the Blaze’s 2-0 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday night, players mingled, shared stories and wished each other luck the rest of the season. A Burnsville player wanted to hear more about Eastview forward Kellie McGahn’s trip to Sweden with her club team.

It’s a rivalry that’s rooted in respect, although the tension might increase in October when the section playoffs start. Burnsville, the 2011 state Class AA runner-up, was moved this season to Section 3AA, where Eastview is the two-time defending champion.

“They’re one of the best teams in the state,” Burnsville coach John Soderholm said of Eastview. “We always have good, competitive games with them, and we think they play the game the right way. Our games always have good intensity.”

“Our kids know a lot of the Burnsville girls from club soccer and other places,” said Eastview coach David Herem. “I think our girls enjoy the rivalries they have with the other (District) 196 teams (Apple Valley, Eastview and Rosemount), and they have a lot of respect for Burnsville.”

On Tuesday, the second-ranked Blaze scored two goals in the final 12 minutes to defeat third-ranked Eastview. While the victory might give the Blaze a leg up in the race for the No. 1 seed in Section 3AA, it’ll be a moot point if Burnsville reaches the final. That game is scheduled to be played at Burnsville High School regardless of whether the Blaze is involved or where Burnsville is seeded.

Of more immediate importance is it kept the Blaze undefeated (8-0-1 overall, 4-0 SSC) heading into Thursday’s showdown against Lakeville North, which also was 4-0 in the conference. On Sept. 24, Burnsville will play at Prior Lake, which also is undefeated in the conference.

When Burnsville plays the SSC powers, it can count on an airtight defense. The Blaze has won or tied 22 games dating to the start of the 2012 season. In those games, it has had 21 shutouts.

“We have a lot of experience on defense,” Soderholm said. “Abby Keirstead was a second-team All-State player last year. Amanda Hartmann is a very good stopper. Betsy Peterson is in her third year on the varsity. We put Kayla Johnson on McGahn (in Tuesday’s game), and she did a great job against one of the best forwards in the state. And our goalkeepers (Darby Lofthus and Josephine Archambault) have been spectacular.”

Sophomore midfielder Hannah Mitby scored on a shot from the penalty area with 11:14 left in Tuesday’s game. Eastview goalie Christina Barry moved to her right when Mitby struck the ball, but the shot deflected off an Eastview player and went into the net. Barry had no opportunity to recover. Peterson got an assist on the goal.

With 1:28 left, Hartmann headed in a corner kick by Megan Engle.

Eastview had the wind advantage in the first half but couldn’t score the first goal, which likely would have been huge in a game between evenly matched opponents.”We had it in their end of the field most of the first half and we had some chances,” Herem said. “We just couldn’t convert.”

Eastview (9-2, 3-1) also has conference powers Lakeville North, Prior Lake and Eagan remaining on its regular-season schedule. The Lightning will play host to Lakeville North on Sept. 24.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time to brood over the loss to Burnsville.

“We played a good game, and it doesn’t end our season,” Herem said. “If we play them again, we’ll be ready, and so will Burnsville. But we’ve still got to play Prior Lake, Lakeville North and Eagan, so it doesn’t get any easier. I wish it did.”