Warriors Athlete of Week: Warrior goalie was King of the state tournament
Olivia King said she's going to try her hand at lacrosse this spring. She will not be playing goalie, however, as the Brainerd senior is looking for a change of scenery. At least until she decides if, and where, she'll be playing hockey next season.
Olivia King said she's going to try her hand at lacrosse this spring.
She will not be playing goalie, however, as the Brainerd senior is looking for a change of scenery.
At least until she decides if, and where, she'll be playing hockey next season. The offers are coming in after King helped the Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors to the Class 2A State girls hockey championship Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Xcel Energy Center.
"A little bit," King said. "I'm still not sure where I'm going to go, but hopefully I figure that out soon."
King's name blew up on social media after she finished the Class 2A State Tournament 2-1 with 101 saves, a 1.88 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage with a state quarterfinal shutout.
"It was awesome, especially since it was our first game," King said. "It just helped carry into the other two games and gave my team some confidence as well."
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- Sport: Hockey
- Position: Goalie
- Year: Senior
- Age: 18
- Height: 5-foot-5
- Career highlight: Class 2A State Championship hockey game against Edina
- Other sports: Soccer, lacrosse
- Grade-point average: 3.3
- Favorite class: English
- Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo
- Favorite movie: "A Star Is Born"
- Favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy"
- Favorite website or app: Instagram
- Favorite restaurant: The Side Track Bar and Restaurant
- Future plans: Attend college
- Favorite athlete: Team USA and University of Minnesota, Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney
- Parents: Kurt King
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King collected 12 saves in the 4-0 quarterfinal win over White Bear Lake Thursday, Feb. 21. She followed that with a 40-save performance in a 3-2 victory over Andover in the state semifinals Feb. 22.
"It was definitely crazy," King said. "You get on the ice and you see all those people from back home. It feels like there are so many people watching. It's a good feeling and it's definitely exciting."
In a little more than 61 minutes of hockey, on the biggest stage in the state, in the biggest game of her career, King posted 51 saves and a .927 save percentage against Edina in the state title game. The Warriors fell 4-3 in double overtime.
"I don't think it's set in yet," King said. "I'm really proud of my team. They worked hard and they've always worked hard. I don't think they really realized what we did."
While King's play captivated the state of hockey, Warriors head coach Jim Ernster wasn't surprised.
"It's really tough to think that would be possible," Ernster said. "Three games like that on that big of a stage, no other goalie has ever been in that position for us. I remember my senior year, Keith Bartholomaus had a heck of a game against Roseau. Still, that was a section final. What she did at the state level is nothing short of amazing.
"She was absolutely the biggest key. Other than White Bear Lake, we figured we would have some offensive zone time, but against skilled forwards like Andover had and certainly like Edina had, you knew she was going to have to play a significant role and she did that and then some."
But King started the playoffs hot. She shutout Moorhead with 13 saves in the Section 8-2A Quarterfinals. She made 22 saves in a 4-1 victory over Sartell/Sauk Rapids in the section semifinals and then collected 29 saves to help the Warriors repeat as section champions with a 3-2 victory over North Wright County, Feb. 15.
"She's just one of those kids that is just so willing to put the work in," Ernster said. "Her and Toby (Kvalevog, Brainerd's goalie coach), I don't know how many countless, extra hours they spent at the rink before our practice started. He would be working on very specific things that he had seen from the last game or even to prepare her for something that might come up. His level of preparation, matched by her work ethic, is kind of what got us to this point."
King said leading up the state tournament she and Kvalevog worked on staying focused and tracking the puck, especially on the large Xcel rink. She said visualizing the shots and plays before the game started also helped.
"We focused on puck play and really focused on trying to make sure we're stopping pucks behind the net and not leaving things in bad situations for your defense," Kvalevog said. "That's an advantage I think we have when Olivia could help out with our defense in our end. That's not really common in girls hockey.
"We also just worked on playing pucks cleanly and being set. That was very obvious that Olivia was set and controlled her rebounds and that was absolutely key to her play."
In 24 regular season games, King finished 19-4-1 with three shutouts, a 1.66 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
And even she wasn't really surprised by her play at state.
"I don't think so," King said. "I always feel like I rise to the occasion a little bit. It was fun to play in those games and there was a lot of people. It helps to have good support."
That quiet confidence and calmness are what Ernster believed helped the rest of the team also perform at a high level.
"Day in and day out she brought the same level of determination and the same work ethic and just tremendous poise and calm," Ernster said. "Even with those TV timeouts on Friday, you're kind of sitting there wondering what to do with those and she's sitting there ready to go. She is poised and calm and that's what we saw out of her all year long. That allowed the girls to play with more confidence."
Other notable performances
• Tristan Dawson, swimming, was part of the Section 8-2A winning 200-yard freestyle relay and advanced to state in the 100 backstroke.
• Andy Dillon, swimming, was part of the Section 8-2A winning 200-yard freestyle relay and advanced to state in the 200 individual medley.
• Griffin Blegen, swimming, was part of the Section 8-2A winning 200-yard freestyle relay and advanced to state in the 50 freestyle.
• Connor Lund, swimming, was part of the Section 8-2A winning 200-yard freestyle relay.
• Kyle Patnode, wrestling, won the 138-pound Section 8-3A Individual Title.
• Braden Kramer, wrestling, won the 152-pound Section 8-3A Individual Title.
• Denny Busbey, wrestling, finished second in the Section 8-3A tournament to advance to state.
• Brad Patnode, wrestling, finished second in the Section 8-3A tournament to advance to state.
• Cheyenne Abear, girls hockey, finished with three goals and three assists at state.
• Gabbie Smith, girls hockey, finished with three goals and three assists at state.
• Tre'Von Otey, floor hockey, finished with five goals and three assists against Robbinsdale.
• Matt Allord, floor hockey, finished with three goals and four assists against Anoka-Hennepin and three goals against Robbinsdale.
• Courtney Russell, girls basketball, finished with 16 points against Willmar and 15 points against Rocori.