St. Teresa’s Academy is back in the final four, and Park Hill made sure the Stars earned it.
St. Teresa’s had to survive a physical, back-and-forth 70 minutes of soccer before breaking on top and taking a 2-0 victory Saturday in a Class 4 quarterfinal at the Park Hill District Soccer Complex.
The defending champion Stars, 19-4, advanced to their fourth straight state tournament and will play Cor Jesu of St. Louis in the semifinals Tuesday at Swope Soccer Village.
The Stars knew they had to work hard to get there.
“Park Hill is a great team, an amazing team,” St. Teresa’s coach Jeremy McElduff said. “It’s hard for us to be a consistent team against them because they’re good in so many areas. They neutralize some of our strengths and I think you saw that today.”
Both teams neutralized each other for most of the match. The Stars’ defense stopped several attacks by Park Hill’s speedy forwards, and the Trojans overcame the Stars’ advantage in shots with many solid saves in goal.
“It was a tough game for both teams I think,” McElduff said. “It’s a hard game to play when you’re just running back and forth. We’re not used to that all the time.”
St. Teresa’s thought it had broken out on top when Lily Farkas found the net 11 minutes into the game, but an off sides call negated the goal. Park Hill had a golden opportunity early in the second half when Stars goalie Delaney Meyer was whistled for taking a pass back from the defender. The Trojans were awarded a free kick inside the 18-yard box, but the Trojans’ Bella Catani sent it wide.
The stalemate continued until with just over 10 minutes left, when the Stars’ Grace Kitts knocked in a free kick from midfield by Abby Small just in front of the goal. Farkas made a shot that found the far post with 2:19 to play to give the Stars some added insurance.
“We couldn’t string enough passes together,” McElduff said. “And once we got a little break on goal we settled down a little bit.”
And breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“I’d say that was one of the most intense games we’ve played this year,” Kitts said.