Irish girls confuse Elk River in state football tournament | Sports
Oliver’s hat trick propels Rosemount to semi-finals
There is no doubt that Rosemount has put the pressure on itself to reach the state women’s football semifinals at US Bank Stadium. The Irish have admitted it. Instead of making them tighten up, it seems to have made them play with even more determination.
Elk River are the most recent team to face the wrath of the Irish as Rosemount scored two goals in the first 15 minutes and earned a 4-0 victory in the Class 3A quarterfinal on October 28 at Eden Prairie High School. Next up is a semifinal game against Centennial at 10 a.m. Thursday, with the winner taking on Edina or Stillwater in the championship game at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“I think (going to US Bank Stadium) is good motivation,” said Rosemount coach Gretchen Stramel. “Many of them have tasted it and want to go back. They want to do it right this time. They took the second (2016) and they took the third (2019).
The last time the Irish were in the state tournament, Centennial ended their state championship hopes with a 2-1 semifinal victory. The 11 current Rosemount players who made the roster two years ago remember and spoke of wanting to have a chance to avenge the loss. It won’t be easy. Centennial is 18-1, Rosemount 19-1.
Rosemount is on a 12-game winning streak in which he outscored his opponents 55-0. Elk River (11-6-3) came in with a rambling team reputation that sticks into games, but Irish junior forward Jessica Oliver’s first two goals took the Elks out of the game earlier. Rosemount is the only opponent to have beaten Elk River by more than two goals this season.
Oliver scored again in the second half and Ava Grate also scored a goal. Taylor Heimerl and Rilyn Rintoul had two assists each.
It was the first college hat trick of Oliver’s career. Now is the right time, it seems. “I agree,” Oliver said with a laugh. She now leads a balanced Rosemount offense with 15 goals, but three other players have at least 10.
“We have a lot of good offensive players so if I have the ball I can drop it and all of our midfielders are really good at shooting,” said Oliver, Rosemount center forward. “We have a lot of options and we always find a way to find the back of the net. That’s the one that’s there, and tonight I was there and finished it. The whole team was so successful in finding their feet and connecting with the passes. “
Stramel also considered it important that assists were awarded on Rosemount’s four goals. “The most impressive thing is that they made beautiful crosses,” she said. “It’s this team combination game that makes us dangerous and successful.”
Rosemount kept the pressure on Elk River for most of the game. On the few times the Elks have threatened, Irish defender and goalkeeper Jordan Hecht defused the situation quickly and effectively. Hecht now has 18 shutouts.
The defense, led by senior captains Joey Edgar, Ashley Herold and Nora Garrett, “is a brick wall out there. Nobody goes through them, ”Oliver said.
Oliver said the Irish were not afraid to put pressure on themselves to reach the state semi-finals. There was no state tournament last year due to the pandemic, but Rosemount reportedly missed it after being upset 1-0 by Eagan in the Section 3AA Championship game.
“This is what we have been working for,” said Oliver. “There has been a lot of pressure since last season and the previous season because we had to go. Having this expectation from the whole school, we must not get arrogant about it. We had to work hard and it really paid off.