St. Thomas Academy's boys' soccer team was the No. 6 seed in the Class 2A, Section 3 tournament, usually the makings of a team on the verge of having its season end sooner than later. That's not the case with the Cadets.
Coach Brian Kallman's squad (7-7-2) has advanced to the section finals and will take on No. 4 seed Richfield on Tuesday. The Cadets are riding a five-game winning streak and have won six of their past seven.
"It's not like we were turning around a horrible season," Kallman said.
The Cadets' record was the result of playing a tough schedule.
"We have five losses to teams ranked in the top 10. We have another two losses to Class 3A schools. Five of those losses were by one goal," Kallman said. "We have been in every game. We have continued to talk about making sure we kept getting better each game to make sure we are peaking come playoffs."
Because of an injury, Kallman had to turn to a player who played junior varsity all season in overtime of the section semifinals. That player, Jack Gordon, netted the game-winner in the 91st minute of a 2-1 victory over Simley.
"Before I put him in the game, I said, 'This is going be a great story,' " Kallman said. "Jack looked up and responded with, 'Yes it is, Coach.' "
In the quarterfinals, the Cadets and Two Rivers played to a 1-1 draw. St. Thomas Academy advanced by winning the shootout 4-3 when goalkeeper Matthew Marvin made saves on Two Rivers' final two shooters.
"We have welcomed the role as being the underdog throughout playoffs," Kallman said.
Most soccer section tournaments will end Tuesday, leading to state tournament quarterfinals Oct. 25-27.
Inside soccer numbers
5: Goals scored by junior midfielder Gabrielle Wamre in Minnehaha Academy's 12-0 shutout of New Life Academy in the quarterfinals of Class 1A, Section 3 girls' soccer tournament. She also had three assists.
12: Goal scorers for Hill-Murray's boys' soccer team in an 18-0 shutout of Fridley in the Class 2A, Section 4 quarterfinals.
14: Saves, many at point-blank range, by Minneapolis Southwest senior goalkeeper Malcolm Munnich in a 2-1 loss to No. 3 Wayzata in the Class 3A, Section 6 semifinals.
15: Goal scorers for Benilde-St. Margaret's girls' soccer team in a 15-0 shutout of Minneapolis Henry/Edison/North in the Class 2A, Section 5 quarterfinals.
38: Goals scored this season by Eastview senior forward Asher Ozuzu. He accounted for all four in a 4-0 shutout of Bloomington Jefferson in the Class 3A, Section 3 boys' soccer semifinals.
88:00: Time when Grand Rapids senior midfielder Grant Chandler bent a free kick into the short side of the net, giving the Thunderhawks a 2-1 overtime victory over Hibbing/Chisholm in the Class 2A, Section 7 quarterfinals.
94:00: Time when senior midfielder Sophia Rahn scored the game-winner, giving visiting Red Wing a 3-2 overtime triumph over Waseca in the Class 2A, Section 7 quarterfinals. She also assisted on the Wingers' first goal.
98:12: Time remaining in overtime when junior midfielder Zac Triplett scored his sixth goal of the season, all coming in the past three weeks, as Blaine edged Duluth East 3-2 in the Class 3A, Section 7 semifinals.