Staring at a one-goal deficit at halftime, St. Teresa’s Academy once again found its championship magic.
The Stars scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half and used that spurt to repeat as Missouri Class 4 girls soccer champions, beating St. Joseph’s Academy 4-2 Saturday afternoon at Swope Soccer Village.
St. Teresa’s won its last 12 games and finished 20-4. St. Joseph’s Academy ended its season 21-3-1.
“I can’t say enough about how hard they worked and the effort they put in to get here,” said St. Teresa’s coach Jeremy McElduff. “We had a couple of struggles at the beginning of the season. After a few weeks, these girls found their rhythm. They just kept plugging away until things finally worked out in our favor.”
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It took some special offensive plays in the second half to put the Stars on top. The first one came with 30 minutes, 55 seconds left in the game and St. Teresa’s trailing 2-1.
Freshman Lily Farkas, who scored the Stars’ lone goal in the first half, won the ball just beyond midfield. She used her speed and foot skill with the ball to dash into the box. Just when the St. Joseph’s goalie started to react, Farkas responded with a successful shot that tied the game 2-2.
“I was just shocked,” Farkas said. “I was just excited we could win this.”
As impressive as that goal was, senior Kate Scofield might have topped it two minutes later. Well over 30 feet out on the right side, Scofield launched the ball and it had a perfect bend that nestled into the left side of the goal, which gave St. Teresa’s a 3-2 lead.
“I was thinking I am going to finish this or hopefully someone else will,” Scofield said. “It is my last game ever playing soccer and I wanted to go out with a bang, and I think we certainly did. My teammates helped me to do that.”
When it left her foot, McElduff initially thought it was long.
“She saw a chance and took it,” McElduff said. “It was a great goal and exciting to see. We had two goals from our seniors, and that is a big reason why we did so well this year was because of the senior leadership.”
In a high-scoring championship game, the Stars needed another goal to solidify their lead. It came three minutes later on a shot by senior Alyssa Seitzer that hit the crossbar and rebounded back to her. Seitzer settled the ball and then kicked it into the back of the net.
A two-goal lead was more than enough for the Stars to maintain over the last 25 minutes of the game.
“It was our determination,” Scofield said. “We wanted to win.”
The Class 4 championship started well for St. Teresa’s. The Stars struck first but went into halftime trailing 2-1.
With 29 minutes left in the first half, St. Teresa’s scored on a goal from Farkas off an assist from Macy Trujillo.
“She played amazing,” Scofield said. “The freshmen played great. It was amazing.”
The Stars continued to control the action for the next 15 minutes but was unable to notch another goal.
St. Joseph’s finally answered with 14:30 left in the first half. The Angels kicked a ball into the box. It took a high bounce and just when St. Teresa’s goalie came out to grab the ball, St. Joseph’s junior Emily Burton got to the ball first and kicked it in for a goal.
Six minutes later, the Angels went in front for the first time. The goal came when freshman Maria Haro sprinted down the sideline with the ball, kicked it into the box where junior Mallory Stock punched the ball in.