Blake’s hopes and dreams hinge on one game each season. Maybe two. Always against the same opponent.
Hyperbole? The Bears came this close to a perfect regular season the 2017-18 season. Their lone blemish came against Edina. The Hornets beat the Bears again that season in the Class 2A, Section 6 title game.
Last season, Edina handed the Bears two of their three losses, including another setback in the section championship.
To say Edina is Blake’s nemesis is underselling the state’s predominant rivalry, akin to pointing out the Joker and Batman don’t get along very well.
The Bears and Hornets meet again on Saturday in our Top Game of the Week for pretty much the same stakes as always: state ranking positioning, the all-important advantage in section seeding and an edge in confidence for their likely date in the section championship.
Both teams are as dominant as ever. Three-time defending state champion Edina, ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll from Dec. 26, has just one loss this season, a season-opening 1-0 loss to No. 1-2A Andover on Nov. 7. Among the Hornets’ 15-straight wins are triumphs over state heavy hitters No. 1-1A Breck (twice; 6-1 on Dec. 3 and 1-0 on Dec. 28), No. 7-2A Hill-Murray (3-1 on Dec. 5), No. 4-2A Minnetonka (4-1 on Dec. 7), No. 5-2A Eden Prairie (2-1 on Dec. 14), Stillwater (6-0 on Dec. 26) and No. 6-2A Maple Grove (2-1 on Dec. 27).
The Hornets (15-1-0, 5-0-0) boast four 20-point plus scorers, led by junior Emma Conner, a Penn State commit, and her 16 goals and 30 points. Harvard commit Hannah Chorske, a junior, has 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points. Tella and Vivian Jungels each have eight goals and 23 and 22 points, respectively. Both have committed to play at Minnesota.
Blake's (9-1-1, 2-0-0) lone loss came in a 5-1 stumble to No. 10-2A Brainerd/Little Falls on Nov. 16. The No. 3-2A Bears have three go-to scorers in senior Cornell commit Lily Delianedis (14 goals, 32 points), senior Minnesota commit Adelaide Burton (12 goals, 23 points) and senior Minnesota commit Audrey Wethington (12 goals, 20 points).