Ella Bryant

Senior Ella Bryant tries to get control of the ball in Shakopee’s 2-1 loss at Chanhassen Sept. 7.

The Shakopee girls soccer team got a playoff win last fall for the first time since 2014.

Can the Sabers compete in the highly competitive Section 2AA again this fall? That will be determined in October, but so far Shakopee is off to a solid start to the season.

Sophomore Abby Missman scored three goals to lead the Sabers to a 5-1 South Suburban Conference home win over Lakeville South Sept. 14. Shakopee improved to 4-2-1 overall with the victory, including 2-0 in league play.

The Sabers’ first league win was 3-1 over Burnsville Sept. 9.

Shakopee also earned a 5-0 home victory over Bloomington Jefferson Sept. 11, getting three goals from senior Ella Bryant and one apiece from junior Megan McGraw and senior Kylee Fuder.

Against Burnsville, junior Rita Moran, senior Ella Doty and Bryant had the goals for Shakopee. Junior Annika Willmert and Bryant also scored against Lakeville South, so the Sabers are getting scoring in the early season from multiple players.

Junior Jessica Nigbur has earned two shutouts in goal for Shakopee

Last fall, the Sabers finished 6-4-3 overall, 5-3-3 in the SSC. Shakopee had an 8-4-4 overall record in 2019 (3-3-3 in the SSC).

From 2013 to 2018, Shakopee struggled with a combined 31-59-7 overall record (6-34-4 in the SSC). The Sabers also had one playoff win from 2013 to 2019.

Coach Chris Adams helped rebuild the Sabers’ program back up, before stepping down after last season. Robert Davies has taken over as head coach after being Adams’ assistant.

Davies, a native of Canada, has more than 10 years of coaching experience in the both the Prior Lake and Shakopee youth organizations, as well as with Dakota Rev.

Meanwhile, the SSC and Section 2 are tough places to rebuild since the league and the section have teams ranked annually.

Last spring, the Minnesota State High School League reclassified sections for all sports and soccer went to three classes. The Sabers are in the top class and the Section 2AAA field didn’t change much.

There’s still perennial powers Edina, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie in the eight-team field, along with Prior Lake, Chaska and Chanhassen. The new squad is Waconia, replacing Bloomington Jefferson, who’s now in Section 3AAA.

In the latest Class 3A poll, Edina is ranked No. 1 in the state. Minnetonka was ranked in the preseason poll, but has since dropped out.

Shakopee’s first four games were against section foes. The Sabers opened the season with a scoreless tie with Minnetonka and followed with a 3-0 loss to Eden Prairie.

Shakopee earned a 2-1 win over Chaska, before falling 2-1 to Chanhassen.

The Sabers will end the regular season Oct. 6 at Eagan in league play. Shakopee will also get a tough test Sept. 28 playing at home versus No. 2 Rosemount. The Irish are the SSC favorites this fall.

The Section 2AAA playoffs will start Oct. 12.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.