TOWN AND COUNTRY • Lafayette High senior goalie Taryn Brewer made a difficult decision earlier this month.
Brewer decided to miss a scheduled lacrosse practice in order to see Luke Bryan, her favorite country musician, in concert in downtown Nashville.
The Lancers have a team rule that states a player has to sit out the next game if she misses practice. So Brewer did not play in an eight-goal loss to defending state champion Cor Jesu on May 9.
But she was not about to miss the rematch on Friday in the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association final four.
Brewer came up with several key saves to help Lafayette shock Cor Jesu 9-5 in the semifinal contest at Westminster.
"I was excited to face them" Brewer said. "I wasn't going to miss this one for any reason."
Even Luke Bryan couldn't have pulled Brewer away from the biggest match of the season.
The Lancers (10-9) will face MICDS (14-2) in the title contest at 3 p.m. Saturday. MICDS crushed Kirkwood 15-4 in the other semifinal on Friday.
Lafayette came from out of nowhere to reach the championship game.
Brewer and Co. entered post-season play with a 6-9 mark and appeared to be on a fast track to nowhere. But somehow, the light bulb came on at just the right time.
"I could go into stats and fundamentals and things like that," Lafayette coach Carrie Guenzler-Heaney said. "But these kids just have the greatest hearts. They have a heart for the game and they just wanted it."
Sophomore Katherine Goddin and junior Lori Lohmann had three goals each to pace the winning attack. Senior Paige Miller scored twice and senior Emelia Boillat added a goal.
The Lancers fell behind early 2-0 before reeling off six successive goals to take control. They used a strong defensive effort, holding the Chargers scoreless for 32 minutes and 39 seconds, their longest drought of the season.
Brewer was determined to take her best shot against Cor Jesu (14-4), which carried a five-game winning streak into the contest.
"I could tell that since she missed the first game against them, that was her motivation," Goddin said.
The heavily-favored Chargers, who beat Lafayette 14-6 in the regular season meeting 10 days earlier, used a pair of goals from Hanna Sullivan in the first 6:53 to grab the lead.
Then, all of a sudden, Lafayette came to life. Goddin converted off a lengthy run and Boillat scored off a picture-perfect pass from Miller to tie the contest. Goddin followed by scoring off a ground-skimming shot from the slot and the Lancers were off and running.
Lohmann helped her team keep the momentum by scoring with just three seconds left in the half for a 4-2 cushion. The tally came just 30 seconds after Brewer made a huge save at the other end.
The Lancers came out of the break on fire. Lohmann and Miller converted in the first 2:55 to push the advantage to 6-2.
Cor Jesu never got closer than to within three goals of the rest of the way.
Goddin's final goal, with 55 seconds left, sealed the upset.
"This team, the way we are now, looks nothing like how we were playing earlier in the year," Lohmann said.
Added Guenzler-Heaney, "The first half of the season, they were warming up to each other. Kind of feeling what their roles were. Then, we just kind of clicked a few weeks ago."
Cor Jesu seemed primed for a rematch with MICDS, especially after jumping to a 2-0 lead.
But Lafayette simply took the match away.
"We were good," Cor Jesu said Andrew Shipp said. "But they were great."
MICDS 15, Kirkwood 4 • Olivia Proctor scored four times and Jennifer Williams had three goals to lead the Rams to an easy win in the first semifinal.
Brooke Wright, Caroline Carr and Mollie Schmid added two goals each.
"We wanted to come in with patience and confidence and I think we did that," MICDS senior midfielder Whitney Williamson said. "It was a great effort by every single person on the field and that's what made us so successful."
The Rams have won 14 in a row after a pair of early-season losses on a trip to Dallas.
MICDS won three successive titles from 2013-2015 before losing to Cor Jesu in last year's title game.