St. Teresa’s Academy’s previous two trips to the girls soccer state title match followed a familiar pattern: the Stars built a multi-goal lead, only to see it slip away late.
St. Teresa’s wasn’t about to let its third-straight state title game end that way.
The Stars responded to Francis Howell Central’s lone goal with two more of their own en route to a 6-1 victory in the Missouri Class 4 state title game at Blue Springs South High School.
The last 30 minutes of the match were little more than a long-awaited victory lap for St. Teresa’s, which won the eighth state title in program history, and the first since 2006.
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“Over the past two years, we knew this was it. We knew this was our year,” Stars senior Dorian Bailey said.
The Stars, 22-2-1, pounced to a 3-0 lead in the first half, with all three goals coming on corner kicks. Grace Kitts had two of those tallies, and Abigail Small the other. Two of Macy Trujillo’s three assists came in the first half as well.
It was a ferocious response from a team that needed 100 minutes and an overtime goal to knock off undefeated and nationally ranked St. Joseph’s Academy less than 24 hours earlier.
“(Friday) night, we expended so much energy. The coaches were concerned about that, but we rehydrated, we rested, we did ice baths, we did all that stuff we needed to do,” St. Teresa’s coach Jeremy McElduff said. “Pickle juice. Pickle juice is great for the cramps. And they came in ready to play.”
Bailey knew there wouldn’t be an emotional hangover from the semifinal victory.
“The game last night was really intense, but like I said, we won that game, we’re going all the way,” Bailey said. “The goals at the beginning really helped us get our confidence up.”
Howell Central, 24-3, scored early in the second half, which was a feat considering the goal the Stars allowed came back on April 28.
Alyssa Seitzer got the goal back less than a minute later.
“We never give up, and when we play as a team we’re at our best. We just stayed with it,” Seitzer said.
St. Teresa’s first three tallies were testament to its skill as a team.
The final two goals were pieces of individual brilliance, with Kate Scofield and Meghan Schmidt drilling home shots from distance.
After collecting its long-awaited state title trophy, the last order of business was to make sure McElduff got doused with the remnants from the water cooler. He eluded briefly before standing still to accept the icy shower.
The Stars walked off the field tired and happy.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Seitzer said.