It’s a three-peat for the Sartell Sabres.
Sartell won its third straight Section 8A girls soccer title Thursday night. The Sabres beat St. Cloud Apollo 2-0 at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium.
The Sabres completed a Sartell soccer sweep in the late game at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium. The boys also beat Sartell, 2-1.
Sartell (14-4-2) advances to next week’s state Class A tournament. The Sabres learn of their opponent and where they play after a coaches’ seeding meeting Saturday.
“I asked the girls before the game to raise their hand if they’d played in this game (for the section title) before,” Sabres head coach Roy Snyder said. “And most of them raised their hand.
“That amount of experience is invaluable when you’re talking about a big game like this.”
Sartell got two early goals. Tessa Hager scored on a high-flying goal that just made it below the cross bar at 4:26 of the first half.
It looked at first like it might have gone over the net.
“I thought it went over, too,” Hager said. “Somebody said: ‘You’re in.
“And I was: ‘Oh, OK.’ Then everyone started cheering.”
Megan Sieben then scored with 19:03 to go in the half. Her first shot hit the cross bar. The second resulted in a nice save by Apollo goalkeeper Anna Carlson. Sieben kicked the third one home to make it 2-0.
The third time, apparently, was the charm.
“Exactly,” Sieben said.
Otherwise, this game really was all about defense. Apollo’s good chances were few and far between.
Snyder credited the stalwart defensive effort of seniors Elli Johnson and Olivia Garner and junior Megan Cook.
“Our back three is tremendous,” Snyder said.
“They talk a lot to each other and work together really well,” Sieben said of the defense.
Sartell, the No. 2 seed in South Sub-Section 8A, earns its fifth state tournament berth since 2006. The Sabres have been to the last two state tournaments, but wound up playing and losing in the first round to the top seed.
Because who plays the top three seeds at state is by random draw, Sartell has been unlucky.
“We want to get a second chance at state this time,” Sieben said.
They’ll find out where they stand on Saturday.
On Thursday, they were playing the Cinderellas of the section, the Apollo Eagles.
Apollo (8-9-1) had the fourth seed in the south, but upset top-seeded and previously unbeaten St. Cloud Cathedral. That win definitely caught the Sabres’ attention.
“Everybody still playing this time of year is good,” Snyder said. “Apollo plays extremely hard.
“And tonight was no different. They played extremely hard.”
Apollo was attempting to get back to state for the first time since 2008 under new head coach Mark Timpane. Snyder also is a new head coach.
He led Green Valley High School in Las Vegas to a state girls soccer championship. He’s married to a Sartell graduate (Alyssa Murphy, class of 1999) and moved to the area.
The Nevada state tournament isn’t seeded, so it will be a new process for him.
“I think we have a lot of good wins,” Snyder said. “And, we tied Blake early on.
“Are only bad loss was 4-0 to Brainerd and it’s a credit to them for how well they played that night. I think I can make a good case for a seed and hopefully not getting the No. 1 team again.”
Nonetheless, the Sabres are back at state.
For Hager, it’s a family thing. Her father Matt is the boys’ head coach.
“I felt a little nervous at first tonight because I knew they (the Eagles) had beaten Cathedral,” Tessa Hager said. “But we came out strong early and that helped.”
Follow Tom Elliott on Twitter @sctimestom or call 259-3661.