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Chris Murphy, Published October 16 2012

Spuds boys soccer headed to state after shootout victory

MOORHEAD – A collective hush came over the crowd at the Horizon Middle School soccer pitch, as Moorhead midfielder Carl Walker placed the ball at his feet.

In a Tuesday-afternoon match that 100 minutes of soccer could not decide, the angle at which Walker fired the ball resting at his toes would decide whether or not it would continue.

Walker took one look at Anoka keeper Logan Zick, attached his eyes to the ball waiting for his right foot, wound up and blasted the ball up and to the left.

Nothing but net.

The goal erased last year’s season-ending 2-0 loss to Anoka, seven years of Spudless state soccer tournaments and upheld a home winning streak that has lasted since Oct. 7, 2010.

Most importantly, it gave Moorhead a 1-0 shootout victory, a Class 2A Section 8 championship and a ticket to the state tournament.

A match in which Moorhead (14-2-1) seemed to find every spot around the goal, Walker found the net using a pretty complex strategy.

“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t miss, don’t miss, don’t miss,’” Walker said. “I was always going to hit it to the left side and just power it. I just wanted to hit it to the left side as hard as I could. It was really amazing for me to see everyone running at me when I turned around.”

Jacob Olson is a midfielder for Moorhead and for 100 minutes of play in Tuesday’s section championship, Olson remained a midfielder. That is until Spuds coach Lance Hansen told him he was going to be between the pipes in the shootout to try to get the Spuds to their first state tournament since 2005.

“I was instantly shocked and scared out of my mind,” Olson said. “When I got in goal, though, all I could think about was winning it for (Moorhead goalie Tanner Swenson). I didn’t want him to be done playing.”

After Jake Leier found the back of the net on the opening shot for Moorhead, Anoka’s Gavin Putt fired on Olson, but Olson swallowed the ball, falling to his right to give the Spuds momentum.

After Adam Baker and Ryan Olek swapped goals and Jordan Hartjen found the back of the net for the Spuds, Olson spotted a tip on Randy Constantino’s face.

“He looked down at the ball and looked right at the corner, so I knew he was going there,” Olson said.

Sure enough Constantino fired left and toward the corner, Olson dove to his right, grabbed the ball, got up and let out a scream that could be heard at the Metrodome – where the Spuds hope to play in the state semifinals and championship.

Minutes later, Walker found the back of the net and the Spuds were celebrating.

“We practice PKs all the time and, as we were doing it, I found out that Olson had this background of being a keeper,” Hansen said. “He was a keeper until ninth grade and then he wanted to be a field player. He was stopping a lot of shots in practice and I knew that’s what we had to do. He’s just explosive going left and right and he has a knack for knowing where a player is going.”

Olson stopped goals in order to get Moorhead’s main goal.

“Our one goal this year was to make it to state,” Olson said.

So what now?

“Now we have to win state,” Olson said.

FIRST HALF: No scoring

SECOND HALF: No scoring

OVERTIME: No scoring

DOUBLE OVERTIME: No scoring

SHOOTOUT: 1, M, Leier. 2, M, Baker. 3, A, Olek. 4, M, Hartjen. 5, M, Walker.

SAVES: M, Swenson 1. A, Zick 7. M, Olson 2.