MARYLAND HEIGHTS — John Burroughs senior Riley King felt a sudden dread.
After MICDS scored to break a scoreless tie early in the second half, King’s mind began racing as she sensed the impending finality.
“When they scored that goal, that’s when it really hit me that this could be my last game,” King said.
So King decided to do something about it.
The talented forward set up junior Grace Pottebaum on the tying goal, then King scored the game-winner as John Burroughs rallied to defeat MICDS 2-1 in a semifinal game of the Midwest Field Hockey Tournament on Thursday.
The Bombers (8-1), who advance to the title game for the first time since 2010, will play Villa Duchesne (13-0) in the championship affair at 1 p.m. Saturday at SportPort Athletic Complex. Villa Duchesne beat Cor Jesu in the opening semifinal.
After an evenly played first half, MICDS junior Kate Oliver made a brilliant play that broke the scoreless deadlock. Oliver intercepted a pass in the midfield, chipped the ball over the sticks of two well-positioned defenders, and launched a 40-yard pass to junior Anna Lochhead, who entered the circle and drove a backhand shot into the goal just 21 seconds into the second half.
While the quick goal stunned the Bombers, it also inspired them.
“We really just rallied. It was a ‘wake up’ kind of thing. We knew we had to be stronger and push harder,” senior captain Kate Smith said.
Four minutes later, a strong offensive rush by junior Ellie Strahorn earned a corner and Pottebaum cashed in, taking a silky pass from King and firing a shot that deflected off the stick of an MICDS defender and hopped past sophomore goalie Kendall Curry to tie the score.
After MICDS junior Livie Warren sent a backhand shot inches wide, John Burroughs tilted the field. King stole a pass in the offensive end and earned a corner that she finished herself. She received the insert and sent a shot into the circle that again found the stick of an MICDS defender and careened into the net.
“All credit to John Burroughs for executing their game plan,” MICDS coach Lynn Mittler said. “Once you get to the quarterfinals, it’s the way the ball bounces and you hope that fate is on your side.”
Fate appeared to be reversing direction when MICDS played two offensive corners with no time remaining in the third quarter, and after a ferocious charge in the final five minutes of the game, earned two more untimed corner opportunities. But the charge of Pottebaum and the quick stick of Smith prevented the tying goal.
“I had complete faith in our defensive penalty corner unit. We practice it all the time,” Smith said of the harrowing final moments.
The win marked the third consecutive time that John Burroughs has defeated MICDS after losing seven in a row to the Rams from 2013-18. It will be the first time the Rams will not play on championship Saturday in four seasons.
“This is a very resilient bunch of young women and there was no way they were going to fold (after that first goal),” Burroughs coach Meridith Thorpe said. “They came back even stronger and more united.”