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Shanley girls soccer headed to state title match after win over St. Mary's

Fargo Shanley's Brookelyn Dew and Bismarck St. Mary's Kaitlyn Wanner battle Friday, June 2, 2017, during the North Dakota girls state soccer tournament at Sid Cichy Stadium at Fargo Shanley. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 4
Fargo Shanley's Tabby Kelsch (8) and Olivia Manuel (14) go for the ball on a corner kick against Bismarck St. Mary's Sinclaire Candreva Friday, June 2, 2017, during the North Dakota girls state soccer tournament at Sid Cichy Stadium at Fargo Shanley. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 4
Fargo Shanley goalkeeper Megan Miranda is swarmed by her teammates after the 2-1 win over Bismarck St. Mary's Friday, June 2, 2017, during the state girls state soccer tournament at Sid Cichy Stadium at Fargo Shanley. David Samson / Forum News Service3 / 4
Fargo Shanley's Natalie Heinrich heads the ball against Bismarck St. Mary Friday, June 2, 2017, during the North Dakota girls state soccer tournament at Sid Cichy Stadium at Fargo Shanley. David Samson / Forum News Service4 / 4

FARGO—In the early minutes of the second half of the semifinal girls soccer match Friday, June 2, Fargo Shanley goalkeeper Megan Miranda was staring down one of the best athletes in the state in Bismarck St. Mary's junior Britta Curl.

Shanley held a two-goal lead at Sid Cichy Stadium and Curl was eyeing to cut that in half via a penalty kick. Miranda had other plans, diving right and getting two hands on Curl's attempt to help lead Shanley to a 2-1 lead and one win away from a state title.

"To kind of get in her head was my plan," Miranda said. "It's a really big mental game when it's a (penalty kick), especially with the wind. She was having to think a lot about extra things. For me, it was really just focusing and reacting as fast as I could."

That stop proved to be the difference.

"That's a game changer right there," Shanley senior Brookelyn Dew said. "When you get that big stop you can just see their heads drop, and you have the momentum back, and it's your game to handle."

Before every game, Shanley chants 6-3-17. Shanley will try to win its first state title in girls soccer since 2012 on that date at 3:30 p.m.

"It's huge," Shanley coach Lance Hansen said of Miranda's stop on the penalty kick. "The stop really shut the door on hopes of them coming back I thought."

Shanley opened the scoring off a throw-in to the right of the goal about 21 yards out. Dew found Andrea Kramer in the center of the box and Kramer found the Deacons a 1-0 lead 11 minutes, 53 seconds into the match.

With 13:16 remaining in the first half, Olivia Manuel found Dew behind everyone. Dew was able to fire a shot around one defender and into the back of the net to put Shanley up 2-0.

The Deacons owned the first half, putting 11 shots on goal, scoring twice and hitting the post once, along with four corner kicks. St. Mary's didn't get one shot on net in the first half.

"It was one of our best this season," Shanley coach Lance Hansen said of the first half. "I was very pleased with what we did. We told girls to just relax and play Shanley soccer."

Curl got St. Mary's on the board with a goal with 1:03 remaining in the match, but the Saints couldn't find the equalizer.

"We knew this was going to be a high-pressured situation game, and we stepped up to it," Dew said.

FIRST HALF: 1, FS, Kramer (Dew), 11:53. 2, FS, Dew (Manuel), 26:44.

SECOND HALF: 3, BSM, Curl, 78:57.

SAVES: BSM, Schweitzer 7. FS, Miranda 2.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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