Lee’s Summit North had a one-goal lead and a good feeling going into the second half on Saturday. Hold Eureka another 40 minutes and the Class 4 girls soccer state championship was theirs.
Then the Broncos were thunderstruck. Twice.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Eureka’s Samantha Courtois wound up and fired a shot from 10 yards outside of the 18-yard box and found the net. Courtois struck again late in the game and doomed LS North to a 2-1 loss at Swope Soccer Village.
LS North (22-4) took its lead at the end of an evenly played first half on a goal by Kaylie Rock, who headed a corner kick from Alexis Mitchell inside the far post two minutes before intermission. Rock, a sophomore who scored both goals in LS North’s 2-0 victory over Lee’s Summit West in Friday’s semifinals game, accounted for all the Broncos’ goals in the tournament.
With their solid back line and the brilliant play of goalkeeper Sarah Peters, who had 10 shutouts and 162 saves to her credit this season, the Broncos thought they were sitting pretty heading into the second half.
“We felt really confident going into the second half, but at the same time we knew it’s a long way,” Lee’s Summit North coach Ryan Kelley said. “We felt confident we were going to keep them out, but credit to Eureka, they made the plays today and they got the goals.”
Eureka got the first of its goals in the second half quickly, with a booming shot that Peters had no chance of stopping as it sailed high into the back left of the net. The blast was so hard and so sudden, LS North senior midfielder Keelie Fothergill said, that it did leave the Broncos rattled.
“It happened really fast,” Fothergill said. “I hardly even saw it. Initially heads dropped, and I think it kind of shook us a little bit.”
LS North was also trying to shake the physical play of Eureka, which became more effective in the second half. But the Broncos could generate little offense in the second and were outshot 6-1.
“They were a big team, and they were physical,” Fothergill said. “I think we played well against it, but it’s not our style of play.”
Courtois struck for the game-winner in the 67th minute. Jodi Mocker hit a free kick , and Courtois ran in on the ball and punched it in the net. And soon Eureka, 19-6, would have the second girls soccer title in school history. LS North, making its first state final since 2012, fell short of its second-ever title.
“I’m still so proud of this team,” Fothergill said. “I love them to pieces, and I’m going to miss them so much.”