Two goals on headers by St. Joseph’s Academy were enough to beat Lee’s Summit in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 4 girls state tournament.
Despite solid play from Lee’s Summit senior goalkeeper Dorothy Bertoncin, a highlight-reel goal from junior Abby Groom and several tantalizing scoring opportunities in the final 17 minutes, Lee’s Summit lost 2-1 to St. Joseph’s Academy on Friday afternoon at Swope Soccer Village.
Lee’s Summit, 23-2, will play for third place at noon Saturday.
“I am extremely proud of the effort they showed in the second half,” said Lee’s Summit coach David Wiebenga. “We wanted to go all the way. We came here to win it this year. You expect that when you put teams like this together. It is the last four and what it should be. But it hurts to lose.
“We are so proud of what they accomplished so far. I challenged them for (Saturday). We don’t lose twice. We step up and play (Saturday).”
Trailing 1-0 with 14 minutes left in the first half, Lee’s Summit got a spectacular goal from Groom. Groom got the ball just outside the penalty box. She made a couple of quick, nifty moves against a St. Joseph’s Academy defender. Groom settled the ball on her left foot and then fired a shot by the goalie that tied the game.
“That is typical Abby,” Wiebenga said. “She is fantastic. She has done so much to improve her game over the last year.”
It appeared the Tigers were going to weather the offensive pressure applied by St. Joseph’s Academy and go into halftime tied 1-1. But with 6 minutes remaining, the Angels scored in the same manner as they did on their first goal. They used their head.
Junior Mallory Stock sailed a ball from the side and into the box. Junior Emily Burton headed the long pass into the back of the net, giving St. Joseph’s Academy a 2-1 lead. The first goal of the game was on a header by St. Joseph’s Academy sophomore Paige Balota.
Thanks to the play by Bertoncin, the Tigers remained only one goal behind midway through the second half. On three different occasions in the first 13 minutes of the second half, Bertoncin made great diving saves.
The Tigers’ first good scoring opportunity in the second half came with 17 minutes left. Sophomore Kayla Deaver got the ball about 35 feet out and broke free of a defender. Deaver moved the ball about 15 feet before attempting a shot. Her shot went just a couple of feet wide right.
Four minutes later, Lee’s Summit created another chance that was stopped by St. Joseph’s Academy goalkeeper by MaryRose Breheny.