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Spuds too much for Tigers

Top-seeded Moorhead trailed for 25 minutes that seemed like an eternity Tuesday. Because sophomore forward Quin Ryan doesn't drop to her knees and throw her hands to the heavens like a shipwrecked sailor washed ashore for just any first-half goal.

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Top-seeded Moorhead trailed for 25 minutes that seemed like an eternity Tuesday. Because sophomore forward Quin Ryan doesn't drop to her knees and throw her hands to the heavens like a shipwrecked sailor washed ashore for just any first-half goal.

Sure, the Spuds scored three unanswered goals and advanced to a third consecutive Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 girls soccer final with a 3-1 victory against St. Cloud Tech at Moorview Soccer Complex. But their early frustrations were obvious in slumped shoulders and terse words.

"Some of that is our lack of experience, and because we can't call timeouts in soccer," said Moorhead coach Scott Middleton, whose team has more freshmen (six) than seniors (four) on its playoff roster.

"I was giving them some clues and hints and ideas, but ultimately they have to be the ones to figure it out."

The answer to the Tigers' physical style and tight marks was to push back and pass the ball.

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Moorhead (14-2-1), which got 76 percent of its regular-season goals from the trio of Ryan, Ashley Herold and Tricia Vanyo, equaled the lowest offensive output of its active 13-game unbeaten string in its postseason opener. But the two-time defending section champion Spuds, who will host No. 2-seed Brainerd (15-1-4) at 4 p.m. Thursday, got six points from six different players.

"Being this could have been our last game, I was playing 150 percent," said senior forward Tracy Ritland, who finished the game with a goal and opened it by singing the national anthem. "I was playing with everything I got."

Effort alone got Moorhead through the rare deficit when Tech (11-5-4) took a lead in the eighth minute.

Moments after Middleton pleaded with his forwards to, "make the simple pass," Ryan scored on a lead pass from Vanyo with 8:02 left in the first half. Freshman Sabrina Sam then converted a header off Rachel Johnson's corner kick early in the second half, before Ritland capped the scoring on a feed from freshman Liz Welle.

"Moorhead has some good forwards," said Tigers coach Eric Olson, whose team had been 9-1-2 since a 5-0 regular season home loss to Moorhead. "We played well in the second half of the second half."

As for the Spuds:

"We didn't play to our full potential," Ritland said, choosing her words carefully. "But we got the job done."

FIRST HALF: 1, SCT, Mages (K. Bacharach) 6:17. 2, M, Ryan (Vanyo) 31:58.

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SECOND HALF: 3, M, Sam (R. Johnson) 46:05. 4, M, Ritland (Welle) 69:24.

SAVES: SCT, Nelson 13. M, S. Johnson 2.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548

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