Pembroke Hill senior Caroline McCray was going to get to the ball no matter what.
When the cross came into the box early in the second half, McCray lunged past her defender, extended her left leg completely parallel to the ground and touched the ball into the goal.
“I just tried to get any body part I could on it, and it went in my favor,” McCray said. “At first, I didn’t realize it went in. Everybody came over to celebrate and I was confused.”
McCray’s effort spurred the Raiders to a 2-0 win over Notre Dame (St. Louis) in the Missouri Class 2 semifinals Wednesday at Swope Soccer Village, propelling Pembroke Hill to its first state final appearance in program history.
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“The goal for us was to show up and control the game,” Raiders coach Matthew Pritchett. “I felt like if we could play calm and keep possession of the ball, we were going to be fine. And that’s what we did. The last three games in the playoffs we’ve really made an effort to play good, solid soccer and keep possession, and I think that’s the difference for us.”
The Raiders, 15-7-1, dominated the contest, outshooting the Rebels 18-7 and keeping the ball in Notre Dame’s half of the field for the majority of the match.
Caroline Peterson scored Pembroke Hill’s second goal on a perfectly placed free kick into the upper corner from just outside the box.
“My teammate had just gotten carried off the field after a foul, and that motivated me. I was determined to finish it for her,” Peterson said. “I saw that I just needed to get it over the wall on the near side, and luckily that happened.”
The Raiders play Duchesne at 4 p.m. Thursday for the Class 2 championship.
“I think we played great as a team today,” McCray said. “We just have to go rest up for tomorrow, see who’s healthy because we had some injuries, and come out and try to get the win.”