BAXTER — The difference was finishing.
More aptly put, the team that was doing the finishing Thursday was different.
The fifth-seeded Moorhead Spuds avenged a 4-2 loss during the regular season by eliminating the No. 4 seeded Brainerd Warriors 2-0 in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals at Southdale Fields.
“One word and that’s finishing,” said Moorhead head coach Nicole Wiesner. “That’s all it took. We had to find the back of the net and we did today.”
Both Moorhead goals came in the first half and off of rebounds. Missy Setter’s score came 2:50 into the contest. After a Bijanca Clark shot was deflected by Warrior keeper Heather Campbell, Setter kicked in the rebound.
It was the same scenario just a different time and different players for the Spuds’ second goal. At 18:01, Cheyenne Willoughby scored on another deflection for the final score.
“Both of those came from throw ins and we’ve been working on that a lot,” said Wiesner. “We’ve been working on the timing and just capitalizing on that. It certainly helped just by us working on those things in practice.”
After the second goal, eighth-grader Megan Tschida replaced Campbell and shut the Spuds out the remainder of the way. Moorhead outshot Brainerd 13-6.
It was only the second time Brainerd failed to score in a game. The last time was a 0-0 tie with Sauk Rapids on Sept. 11. Senior Emily Beltran did not play in that game. Either did forward Hannah Lundstrom. Both played Thursday, but were watched carefully by Moorhead’s defense.
“We just told the girls to watch out for Beltran,” Wiesner said. “We said mark her quickly. Mark her tight. They did it and they certainly shut her down.”
Two Brainerd throw ins and a corner kick in the second half created excitement, but no offense for the Warriors, who managed just four shots on net in the second half. Brainerd attempted 20 shots in its last game against Moorhead.
“Moorhead was much more physical this time around,” said Warriors head coach Ricky Lacerte. “Last time around they weren’t ready for us because we moved the ball around so well. This time I think in order to beat us they had to be extremely physical. They fought for every ball we had and we just weren’t ready for that. I don’t know if it was overconfidence or maybe the pressure got to us.”
The season goal for Brainerd was a 500 record. Brainerd finished the season at 10-2-3. The Warriors outscored their opponents 40-14 and recorded seven shutouts. They won the Central Lakes Conference title.
“I wouldn’t trade this team for Moorhead’s team any day of the week,” said Lacerte. “This team has dedicated themselves day in and day out to each other. They improved drastically. All in all, Moorhead had a group of talented players. Probably more so than our team, but we had the better team because we played better together. I wouldn’t trade that. I have no regrets about this season or my team. I hope they know that I’m proud of them.”
Moorhead 2 0 — 2
Brainerd 0 0 — 0
First half: M-Missy Setter (Bijanca Clark) 2:50; M-Cheyenne Willoughby (Kelsey Quaife) 18:01
Shots on goal: Brd 6; M 13
Goalkeepers: Brd-Heather Campbell (2 saves), Megan Tschida (9 saves); M-Emily Nord (6 saves)