Given the marquee, college-bound players that fill out the St. Teresa’s Academy offense, it can be easy to forget about the player who defends the Stars’ goal.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Not this time.
There was no overlooking St. Teresa’s goalkeeper Janie Thompson, who rose to the occasion Friday in a 1-0 shutout victory against St. Joseph’s in the Class 3 state soccer semifinals.
Kayla Redlingshafer supplied the lone goal for St. Teresa’s, 18-2, which moves on to play Eureka for the Class 3 championship at 4 p.m. Saturday at Blue Springs South.
“If she wasn’t the best player on the field tonight,” Stars coach Jeremy McElduff said of Thompson. “she was one of them.
“She deserves to have a night like that, especially in this setting.”
Thompson made four saves in her eighth shutout of the season, a number that wasn’t indicative of how thoroughly she was challenged.
In the final 10 seconds of the opening half, Thompson made two brilliant saves. The second shot appeared to be headed into the net as time expired before Thompson leaped and punched it over the bar.
“That was probably the most nerve-wracking point for me,” Thompson said. “It was really close.”
After its near goal, St. Joseph’s, 18-3, came out with a renewed energy in the second half. It had a goal wiped out by an offsides call in the 65th minute.
That served as a wake-up call for the Stars, who scored 3 minutes later on a counter-attack led by defender Danni Gray. She began the attack from her own end, and after a give-and-go with midfielder Savannah Trujillo, she slid a pass over to a wide open Redlingshafer, who just needed to tap the ball into an open net for the only score in the game.