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.