The playoff run was about to continue for 10 more minutes – at least it looked it would be that way.
But Aquinas’ memorable season came to a stunning end, less then a minute away from forcing two overtime periods, as the Fellowship Christian girls soccer team scored with 44.1 seconds remaining to win 2-1 Tuesday night at Aquinas in a Class A state semifinal.
“The entire game, they never gave up. They all played their butts off,” Lady Irish coach James Leonard said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of anybody, ever.”
The game was just like the other two playoff matches for the Lady Irish: three total games, three one-goal results. But unlike the other two, Aquinas saw its season end on Tuesday on a Alexandra Lear goal.
Earlier, Aquinas (10-6-1) tied the game with 31:25 remaining in the second half, when Sydney Thompson took the throw in and powerfully sent it into the box, where the ball hit off a body and got by the keeper. That came after the Lady Paladins struck first on a Catherine Council goal about 10 minutes into the game.
But Aquinas keeper Morgan Davis was at her best in net most of the match, especially during a back-to-back corner stretch late in the game.
First, Fellowship Christian (13-6) got a strong shot off a corner, forcing Davis to block the attempt. Moments later, Davis went low to her right to get in front of another shot.
Aquinas almost grabbed a late lead, when Thompson kicked in a cross and the ball just missed getting a finishing touch from a pair of Lady Irish players.
But the second goal didn’t arrive for Aquinas, leading to the end of a successful season that saw senior star Thompson fly past 100 career goals.
“It was phenomenal. We had a huge turnover from last year,” Fellowship Christian coach Trip Hughes said. “It’s just the drive, not giving up.”