Lee’s Summit North lost seven of its first eight matches. Injuries took their toll, as did an inability to truly mesh on the field.
But through it all, the Broncos battled and endured, just as they did in the Class 4 District 13 girls soccer final Thursday night. And now they’re district champions after Halle Hill’s goal in overtime lifted North to a 2-1 victory over St. Teresa’s Academy at North.
“We’ve just had some rough patches this year,” North coach Ryan Kelley said. “We came out of the gate and it was a real struggle. But the girls stayed with everything we asked them to do. And they stayed motivated, and they stayed positive with each other.”
The Broncos will play Blue Springs, which defeated Fort Osage 2-1 in the Class 4 District 14 final, next Tuesday.
North (7-12) had three straight wins after that 1-7 start, including a 2-1 overtime win at St. Teresa’s (11-5). But an 0-4 end to the regular season had the Broncos’ confidence shaken going into districts.
“We had a stretch where we thought we were turning things around,” Kelley said. “But in the last regular season matches we struggled and didn’t play like we really can. But tonight the girls came out and showed a lot of heart. They were able to push themselves through and get the job done today.”
Hill, a senior midfielder, got the job done with her second goal in a match that was scoreless until the final four minutes of regulation. Her golden goal came shortly after a corner kick from Jayme Coon that Halli Martin rebounded back near the goal, where Hill was in position to back-kick it in with just over seven minutes left in the extra period.
The goal involved a little trickery on Hill’s part. She normally takes North’s corner kicks, and the times she doesn’t, she’s usually marking the goalkeeper.
“I decided I didn’t want to be on the keeper, I wanted to try to score and I knew that would kind of confuse them,” Hill said. “I just stayed in the spot to be sure it rebounded back in and this time Halle Martin rebounded it back in and it just set up perfectly.”
Hill appeared to have the game-winner with four minutes left in regulation when she worked around a St. Teresa’s defender in the box and found an open net when Stars’ goalie Emma Bessenbacher was drawn off her line.
But with just over a minute to play, St. Teresa’s midfielder Lily Farkas took a brilliant through ball from Maureen Plas and blasted a shot past North goalie Morgan Glasgow for the equalizer.
“This was one of Morgan’s best games,” Kelley said. “That goal Lilly scored, there’s a reason she’s in the national pool and will play for a high (Division I) program (Michigan). She did a great job of turning and she did a great job of finishing that. I don’t think there was a whole lot Morgan could do.”
After what they went through at the start of the season, Kelley is just happy they will get to play another day.
“I’m just really happy for them because they’ve earned it,” Kelley said. “They’ve gone through the struggle; they were the ones right in the middle of it. And for them to be able to have a performance like this today, it takes away a lot of what we went through there.”