According to the Student Sports FAB 50 poll, Saturday’s Mo-Kan Challenge title game between second-ranked St. Teresa’s Academy and No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas was the premier high school girls soccer game played in the country.
The Stars and Saints played up to their billing, too, each producing an outstanding goal in the final four minutes of regulation to take the game to golden-goal overtime.
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St. Teresa’s Academy standout Dorian Bailey got the first — and only — chance she needed in the fifth minute of overtime, burying a shot from inside the 18-yard box to give the Stars a 3-2 victory at Aquinas.
“Kate (Scofield) played a great ball up the line, and she made it easy for me. All I had to do was cut the ball back, and it was an easy shot,” Bailey said.
It was only slightly less impressive than the goal she scored with 3:45 to play in regulation to give the Stars, 4-0, a short-lived lead. That was a rocket from 25 yards that seemed to put the game away.
“She’s on the (U17) national team. She’s going to North Carolina. She’s a special player, and she looked like it. Those two (goals) she had were fantastic,” Aquinas coach Craig Ewing said.
The Saints, 3-1, evened the score on a goal from Kelly Sweeney with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.
Sweeney struck again with 1:45 left in regulation to push the game into overtime.
“I thought Sweeney’s finish was incredible. She’s got three people around her, found space and put it in the side of the net. That finish was as good as Dorian’s finish in some ways. Kelly had a great tournament for us,” Ewing said.
The difference on Saturday, though, was Bailey.
“With our team, we give her free rein. She might play up top, she might start in the midfield, but we give her free rein. She’s good. She’s that good. We know she’s a game changer, and today, luckily, she did it,” St. Teresa’s Academy coach Jeremy McElduff said.
The Stars also know they have the mettle to deal with conceding two late goals to one of the best teams in the country. St. Teresa’s absorbed those blows and still found a way to win.
“This team is incredible. We have so much heart to be able to do that. One of our defenders got hurt and they scored, and they came back and scored again to tie it up. We have great resiliency to be able to come back,” Bailey said.
It’s the sort of fight shown by state — and perhaps national — champions.
“They knew all we had to do was get one chance,” McElduff said. “And we took it.”