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Chris Murphy, Published October 10 2013

Riveland's goal sends Moorhead's girls soccer team to the section semifinals

MOORHEAD – Moorhead’s Hannah Riveland fell to her knees after hitting a free kick from 30 yards out in the closing minutes of Thursday’s Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 girls soccer quarterfinals with Brainerd.

The ball had hit the side of the net, the cross bar and seemingly every post for the Spuds in the second half and Riveland assumed her kick went too high. She was wrong.

Riveland, a junior, buried it into the back of the net with 4 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game and it gave Moorhead a 2-1 win and a spot in the section semifinals.

“I was just trying to get it on the net because we had missed free kicks earlier,” Riveland said. “I didn’t even see it go in to be honest. I just fell to my knees because I thought it went over.”

Riveland figured it out pretty quickly.

“I heard yelling and screaming and I figured I must have scored,” Riveland. “It was a big relief.”

Moorhead had outshot Brainerd 10-3 in the second half, but the score remained 1-1 and seemed destined for overtime just as both teams had done when they closed their regular seasons with a 4-4 tie.

“Last time we played them, we were outplaying them and we had possession for most of the time,” Riveland said. “Our mistakes and missed opportunities let it get away. We finished twice today though.”

Moorhead coach Nicole Wiesner certainly thought the playoff game resembled the regular-season finale. Fortunately for Moorhead it had a different result.

“They scored with one second left in the second overtime to make it a tie,” Wiesner said. “That was a nail biter as was tonight. We controlled the game, but we just could not get the ball in the net. It was sitting on the goal line, hitting the crossbar and right on the side of the net. It just wouldn’t go in.”

Wiesner has coached for five years at Moorhead (10-6-1) and all five years the Spuds have made it to the section semifinals. They are yet to win that game in her five years.

“I really want to get a win,” Wiesner said. “Last year was St. Michael-Albertville. We played them our very first game of this season and I don’t think we were ready for them, but now we are. If we play like this, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Moorhead got its wish and will play top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville Saturday.

Andrea Wilmer led things off for Moorhead, scoring midway through the first.

“There was a bunch of girls around me and I knew I just needed to punch it passed them,” Wilmer said. “The biggest problem our team has is finishing on net, so I knew I had to put it in.”

Brainerd (10-4-3) didn’t leave Moorhead much time to celebrate when Ally Smith found the back of the net off an assist from Jenny Hendrickson to tie things up three minutes later. Moorhead got the last laugh to go along with its ticket to the section semifinals on Riveland’s boot.

“It’s so much better to actually play a game rather than blowing out a team,” Riveland said. “You don’t get better when you blow a team out. We worked hard and they made us put our skills together.”

FIRST HALF: 1, M, Wilmer 15:37. 2, B, Smith (Hendrickson), 18:57.

SECOND HALF: 3, M, Riveland 35:22.

SAVES: M, Ramage 3. B, Tschida 6.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548