State girls soccer: St. Paul Academy is perfect in quarterfinal shootout, advances to state semis

Clare Ryan Bradley said she didn’t do very well when St. Paul Academy practiced penalty kicks Wednesday, but the sophomore came through Thursday.

“I knew I was going to make it today because I knew I could do it,” she said.

Ryan Bradley scored the final goal in the shootout and the Spartans made all five of their kicks to defeat Esko 2-1 in a damp state quarterfinal at Irondale High School.

Sawyer Danielson, Lucia Gonzalez, Aurelia Meza and Elizabeth Tuttle also scored shootout goals for No. 4 St. Paul Academy.

“We played the full 100 minutes; this is what we’ve been training for. We’ve been doing PKs every practice, getting them consistent. I guess it paid off,” said Danielson, a junior who’ll play at the University of Minnesota.

The Spartans (10-6-4) get top-seeded Providence Academy in a semifinal at 5 p.m. on Halloween at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Last year, St. Paul Academy lost in the championship game.

“We went last year for the first time in a while. It’s nice to go back and prove it wasn’t like a lucky run,” Danielson said.

Ryan Bradley scored in regulation for the Spartans; Britta Koski scored for Esko.

Koski got Esko (13-3-3) on the board with probably one of the easiest team-high 19 goals she’s had this season.

Jordyn Randa dribbled down the left side, and, approaching the goal line, centered to Koski in front of the net for a simple redirect less than three minutes into the game.

The game’s next goal came early in the second half — the game’s 44th minute. This time it was the Spartans getting the equalizer, a tally that nearly came a couple feet away from not happening.

Sprinting past a defender while chasing a long ball from Gonzalez, Ryan Bradley was able to chip the ball over the Esko goaltender a split second before the ball would have entered the box and been picked up. The orb bounced a couple times on the turf and across the line.

St. Paul Academy had a couple prime chances later in the half, including a 2-and-1 with about 16 minutes left, and a centering pass by Danielson just missed being converted nine minutes later.

Twice in the first overtime the Spartans could not convert a corner kick that went through the box.

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