SPA girls' soccer team capped off another remarkable postseason run in championship fashion, winning the Class 1A Minnesota State title in a 3-0 victory against St. Charles on Friday, November 3, 2023 at U.S. Bank Stadium. This is the Spartans' first State title and second consecutive trip to the championship game after finishing as runner-up last year.
“We aren’t really just playing for our team," says senior and captain Annika Lillegard '24, who was quoted in the Pioneer Press's recap of the championship game. "Today, we played for the seniors who graduated last year. I think a lot of us really felt that most of the team has been here last year, and it’s just an amazing experience." Read the Pioneer Press article.
The road to the State championship was built on the Spartans' high-powered offense and stingy defense, which were on peak display throughout the entire postseason. Seeded #3 in Section 3A, the team sailed through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, defeating Trinity 2-0 in the quarterfinals and Visitation 2-0 in the semifinals and earning the right to face off against IMAC rival Minnehaha Academy for a trip to State. The Spartans 3-2 victory in the Section final represented both their ticket to State and their first victory over the Redhawks, after tying 4-4 and losing 0-1 in the regular season.
At State, SPA the #4 seed defeated the #5 seed Esko 2-1, in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round and upset the #1 seed Providence Academy in thrilling fashion winning 4-3 in the semifinals, setting up a showdown against the #3 seed St. Charles in the championship game. The Spartans were well up to the challenge, putting up a goal from Clare Ryan Bradley '26 with about eight minutes left in the first half of the title game and in the second half Sawyer Bollinger Danielson '25 put the game out of reach with two goals of her own, giving SPA the match and their first Class 1A State title.
Overall, Bollinger Danielson led the Spartans with 23 goals and 9 assists on the year; Ryan Bradley scored 13 goals, Lucia Gonzalez '26 contributed 6 assists, and Tuttle added 8 goals. Other individual accolades for the team included:
MSHSL All-Tournament Team: Sawyer Bollinger Danielson '25, Clare Ryan Bradley ‘26, Elizabeth Tuttle ‘26 and Annie Zhang ‘25
All-Metro Second Team: Sawyer Bollinger Danielson '25
All-State: Sawyer Bollinger Danielson '25 and Annie Zhang ‘25
All-Conference: Sawyer Bollinger Danielson '25 and Annie Zhang ‘25
All-Conference Honorable Mention: Lucia Gonzalez ‘26, Clare Ryan Bradley ‘26 and Elizabeth Tuttle ‘26