Benidle-St. Margaret’s senior goalkeeper Kevin Lebahn smiled ear-to-ear on the Metrodome turf Thursday morning, his grin symbolizing career-long goal finally being realized.
When the Red Knights upset defending champion Prairie Seeds Academy 3-1 in the Class A finals in Minneapolis, BSM’s first title since 2006, this year’s senior class achieved something it knew was possible for the past four years.
“I’ve been waiting since my freshman year,” Lebahn said. “I knew we had this talent. it was only a matter of time.”
Senior midfielder Carter Eckerline notched the eventual game-winner at the 48:05 mark.
Talent mixed with grit and offensive aggressiveness paved the way to Thursday’s championship, as the Red Knights upset the top-seeded and unbeaten Lycans by matching fire with fire.
BSM understood PSA (19-1-2) would bring a talented attack. It was simply a matter of matching their aggressiveness.
“Most teams, when they play them, they sit back and let them attack,” senior John Mulvahill said. “But we thought we could attack them and put them on their heels.”
It showed early. BSM’s Jake Horton scored 5:09 into the first half to give the Red Knights an early 1-0 lead.
When Carlos Boquin tied the score 1-1 eight minutes later, the Red Knights didn’t change their style of play. Instead, coach Dave Platt said they adjusted at halftime, made quicker decisions with their passes and tried to find their teammates quicker to avoid the game’s growing physicality.
“If you get the ball away, move the ball up the field and keep possession, that was our goal as much as possible,” Platt said. “They put a lot of pressure on us, but that was one of our biggest goals.”
BSM (19-2-1) was outshot 12-10 in the game and surrendered several free kick opporutunities throughout the contest. But when called upon, Lebahn was there time and time again.
The senior keeper, who said he missed the semifinal match with a torn meniscus in his knee, made seven saves in the game.
That kept the Red Knights in the game. Eight minutes into the second half, Eckerline scored to put BSM on top. With 22:03 remaining, Mulvahill iced the game with a header.
“I knew it was over once we scored,” Lebahn said. “I was so excited. It was great.”
GAME SCORING SUMMARY
1. 5:09 BSM Jake Horton (Dan Lundberg)
1. 13:16 PSA Carlos Boquin (unassisted)
2. 48:05 BSM Carter Eckerline (unassisted)
2. 57:58 BSM John Mulvahill (Paul Graupner)
BSM CLASS A ALL-STATE RECIPIENTS
John Mulvahill (defender)
Brendan Schember (midfielder)
Paul Graupner (defender)
Jake Horton (attacker)