O'FALLON, MO. • St. Dominic freshman Grace Bindbeutel had a hectic day at school Wednesday.
On the surface, final exams in biology, literature and speech would be more than enough to fill any high school student with worry and angst.
Add to that, the completion of the Crusaders' weather-delayed Class 3 sectional with Liberty and it would be easy to see why Bindbeutel's head would be full.
But Bindbeutel washed away all the worry by scoring in the second overtime to lift the Crusaders to a thrilling 3-2 victory.
“Going into the overtime, we had the momentum, but it was hard to keep that,” said Bindbeutel of waiting nearly a day for the game to resume with the start of overtime after a severe weather postponement on Tuesday. “The tornado sirens went off and we had the momentum when we stopped. All the coaches believed in us the whole time. They knew we could get this done. We were down 2-0, but we worked hard and came back because of that belief.”
St. Dominic (23-3-1, No. 3 in the STLhighschoolsports.com small-schools rankings) will face Incarnate Word in a state quarterfinal on Saturday. The Crusaders beat IWA 5-1 on March 19.
The decisive goal on Wednesday – Bindbeutel's team-leading 30th of the season – came on a header off a cross from senior defender Maddy Stewart.
St. Dominic coach Greg Koeller said the finish was a carryover of play on Tuesday.
“We had the momentum at the end of play yesterday, we played well and we tied it after going down 2-0,” Koeller said. “Today, we wanted to keep that same pressure up and I thought we did a good job.”
After conceding a pair of goals in the first half, the Crusaders scored back-to-back goals by junior midfielder Anna Stiffler and freshman forward Jess Larson in the final 14 minutes of regulation.
“I don't know if it was the fact that we had finals, or what, we just came out slow,” Koeller said. “The girls picked it up and got us here.”
Liberty (10-11-1) received goals in the first half from senior forward Anna Fulhorst and sophomore Anna Decker. Junior keeper Jenna McVey made a pair of key saves toward the end of regulation.
“We're super-proud of (our team),” Liberty coach Heidi Kleekamp said. “We outlined it with our seniors. Every year they've been here, we've basically made it a step further. We told them that's something super big to be proud of themselves for. This is the fifth year as a varsity team and they've made huge strides each year to lay the foundation of our program going forward.”
Junior goalkeeper Alli Palmatier made four saves to earn the win for St. Dominic.
St. Dominic moved into the Class 3 quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years and the sixth time in the last seven seasons since the Crusaders won the Class 2 title in 2013.