On Saturday, the Eden Prairie High School girls soccer team was awarded Section 2AA’s No. 4 seed.
“I’m pumped about that,” said Eden Prairie coach Jessica Mueller, “but still can’t believe we didn’t get the No. 3.
“I don’t get it,” she questioned, “You’ve got a team that maybe played three top-10 teams ahead of team that didn’t just play nine top-10 teams, but nine top-6 teams.”
To be fair, or not, coaches don’t get to argue their team’s merits.
“It’s a blind vote,” said Mueller.
So, the Eden Prairie coach is “pumped” to get a home game.
On Tuesday, No. 4-seeded Eden Prairie was scheduled to host No. 5-seeded Prior Lake. Edina, Minnetonka and Shakopee were seeded Nos. 1, 2 and 3, Chaska, Chanhassen and Bloomington Jefferson Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
On Thursday, Oct. 3, Eden Prairie ended its regular season by playing Wayzata to a 0-0 draw.
Question: Was Thursday’s result a good jumping-off point for Eden Prairie as it readies for the playoffs?
“I saw lots of positives,” said Mueller. “One, we rotated lots of kids. They’ve had a lot of chances and they’ve had a lot of minutes. When they’re going in the game, they’re making an impact. Two, we found a shape that created more opportunities. We didn’t score, but we had four or five really good chances.
“Erica’s (Erica Golenzer) look,” added Muller, “ended with their goalie making the save of her life.”
While Mueller said she’ll use a 3-4-3 set in spots, it’s not a formation Eden Prairie will play with regularity.
“It throws numbers forward,” said Mueller, “but it’s risky.”
It’s also a whole lot of work.
“The top has to get back,” said the coach.
When talk turns to Prior Lake, Eden Prairie’s first-round opponent, Mueller described the Lakers as very good and very tough.
“To beat them, we have to score first,” she said. “We have to win balls and we have to play direct.”
“If any conference prepares you for the type of competition we’ll see in the playoffs, it’s the Lake,” said Mueller, “and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Eden Prairie and Prior Lake were scheduled to play a quarterfinal game on Tuesday. Semifinals, at high seed, are scheduled for Thursday (today), finals for Tuesday, Oct. 15.