Instead of getting caught up in the awards and the national rankings, St. Teresa’s Academy soccer coach Jeremy McElduff says his team has drawn inspiration from its runner-up finish last year.
After a dominant 5-0 victory against Jefferson City in the Miccouri Class 3 semifinals on Friday at Blue Springs South, that focus and determination has earned them another state championship appearance.
“We are more than ecstatic,” senior forward Savannah Trujillo said. “We have some unfinished business to take care of after coming so close last year, so we are going to take it to (St. Joseph’s Academy) as hard as we can.”
St. Teresa’s held Jefferson City without a shot in the game while firing 19, with 12 on target. Each of the Stars’ five goals was scored by a different player.
“It’s not uncommon this year for that to happen,” McElduff said. “It is helpful to have one or two or three girls who score a lot of goals, but we also had that depth to know that if one of those girls aren’t scoring that someone else can step up and do it.”
Trujillo scored the Stars’ first goal on an unassisted 30-yard shot into the opposite side of the net in the 12th minute. Tess Rellihan followed with an unassisted goal in the 30th minute and Madalyn Russell added another off a corner kick before halftime. Grace Kitts and Kate Scofield scored in the second half off assists from Trujillo.
Kearney 2, Helias 1
Although Kearney girls soccer coach Jackie Haller would have been happy with a less dramatic semifinal match, that is definitely not what she got.
After allowing an equalizer in the 74th minute, it took until the final minute of overtime before Allie Hess knocked in the golden goal on a deflection off of Helias Catholic’s goal keeper, Sydnee Kliethermes. Hess’ team-leading 29th goal of the season lifted Kearney to a 2-1 victory, which earned the Bulldogs a spot in the Missouri Class 2 state championship game.
“I saw one of girls get nailed by the goalie, and I knew the goalie was down with her,” Hess said. “Then I saw another two girls come in, and I knew I had to get a foot on it.”
Kearney scored its first goal on a deflection, too, when Hess’ shot was saved and Gloria Hanrahan came swooping in to finish it in the 28th minute.
“We played pretty solid all over the field, but we were having trouble finding the net today,” Haller said. “I thought we had many opportunities that we did not capitalize on.”
The Bulldogs had 13 shots in the match with seven on goal while holding the Crusaders to six shots with four on goal. Caitlyn Champ had three saves for the Bulldogs.
Kearney will face Visitation Academy at noon at Blue Springs South for the state title.
Springfield Catholic 4, Lutheran 2
Lutheran made its first ever trip to the Missouri Class 1 girls soccer state tournament Friday.
Its first victory there will have to wait.
Springfield Catholic ended Lutheran’s 21-match unbeaten streak with a 4-2 victory in the semifinals Friday afternoon at Blue Springs.
Lutheran will return to Blue Springs for the third-place match at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“They fought hard,” Lutheran coach Oliseh Chuks said. “But these girls know as much as anyone that it’s not easy to make it to the final four. They’re all good teams here. We played a good second half, but by then, it was too late.”
Springfield Catholic, 19-8, dominated early possessions and needed only 11 minutes to jump out to a two-goal lead, with Maggie Temofeew and Sydney Miller providing the scores.
But it wasn’t over. Lutheran, 20-2-1, had erased a two-goal deficit against Summit Christian Academy in the sectional round, and the Knights came close to repeating history.
After clanking a shot off the post to open the match, senior Sierra Grimm scored her 58th goal of the season midway through the first half to pull the Knights back within a goal.
Springfield Catholic responded with another goal before halftime, but Lutheran forward Abigail Benz again cut the deficit to one when she converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute. That kept hope alive until Springfield Catholic’s Lydia Holtmann iced the game with a goal with three minutes remaining.
“Even if it was our first time here, we really thought we were going to win,” Grimm said. “We came back from that spot before, and we knew we could do it again. We just came up short.”