State tournament jitters? Summit Christian Academy sure didn’t show any Wednesday.
It was business as usual in the Missouri Class 1 girls soccer semifinals for the Eagles, who have bludgeoned their way through the postseason. They got a hat trick from the high-scoring Kassi Ginther, who broke a national career scoring record as they rolled over Fatima 5-0 at Swope Soccer Village.
Summit Christian, 24-3, played St. Vincent in Thursday’s final, looking for the first team championship in the school’s history. St. Vincent advanced by beating Principia 1-0 on a goal with 18 seconds left in the game.
SCA, by contrast and design, already had a goal 52 seconds into the game.
"We knew we wanted to be the first to score," Ginther said. "Having that first goal settled things down and that was our plan."
Ginther’s three goals gave her 122 for the season and 318 for her career, breaking the previous mark of 315 she tied with seven goals in the Eagles’ 10-0 win over St. Paul Lutheran of Concordia in the quarterfinals. She knew she was tied for the mark going into Wednesday, and she didn’t want to leave state without getting it.
"I was so excited," said Ginther, a senior forward who has signed with Iowa State. "To be able to break that record is an honor and I hope I can do more tomorrow, too."
Maya Cofield scored that first goal, streaking in from the left side of the box for a shot in the first minute. Ginther had just missed on a scoring opportunity seconds before.
The next three goals would be Ginther’s. She put in a one-timer from the left of the box in the 17th minute, turned and fired on a ball from Riley Painter right in front of the goal in the 25th minute and knocked in another on a counterattack in the 32nd minute.
"She always pushes to score as many goals as she can, but at the beginning of the game you could see she was working," Siemsen said. "She wasn’t just going for the record; she was laying off a lot of balls for other people and being a team player."
By halftime, Summit Christian led 4-0 and had outshot Fatima 12-0. And the Eagles, who had outscored the opposition 33-3 in three postseason games, were well on their way to another win. An own goal six minutes into the second half completed the scoring.
SCA didn’t get to play for the title in its first-ever trip to state last year after losing to Trinity Catholic 3-2 in the semifinals before bouncing back to rout Father Tolton Regional Catholic 9-0 in the third-place game. Siemsen believes having that experience helped them make it farther this time.
"Last year they were really nervous, and this time they were just ready to play," Siemsen said. "They’ve played on this field before, they’re excited to be here but there wasn’t such a big deal of nervousness."