“I’m just filled with pure joy,” said Springfield Catholic’s head coach Ben Timson. “This team has battled all year. To come out here today and to find a way to get it done, I couldn’t be happier.”
Catholic jumped out to an early offensive advantage in the first seven minutes of play, as Courtney Ukena assisted Michelle Garrison for the first goal of the game. The Lady Irish dominated the ball in Dixon’s territory throughout the rest of the first half.
After intermission, the Lady Bulldogs regrouped their game plan after pressurizing both sides of the field. Ebony Hader then tied the game for Dixon in the second half, as she found the back of the net unassisted in the eighth minute.
Through 18 scoreless minutes, Catholic’s second and deciding goal came off the left foot of Lydia Holtmann, who made her way passed Dixon’s goalkeeper Tabitha King and placed it perfectly to clinch a quarterfinal victory on the road, 2-1.
“I’m just really excited about heading to the final four,” said Holtmann. “Making it this far, playing that hard of a game, and coming out with the win is just an awesome feeling. I couldn’t be any prouder of my team and their effort.”
Catholic’s bid to the state tournament seemed almost impossible after the amount of injuries they have faced throughout the regular season.
“This year started off rough, we had a lot of injuries throughout the season, and a lot of people doubted our potential,” said Holtmann. “We had lots of young inexperienced players, but they stepped up to the challenge. These are our last two games together, we’re just going to come out and play as hard as we can.”
The Lady Irish have a rough road ahead of them, as they hit the field against the defending state champs St. Pius X in the semifinals May 31 at 1:00 p.m. in Blue Springs, Mo.
“Certainly playing in the final four, we will be hitting the best competition,” said Timson. “St. Pius X is a great team; they have been ranked second in the state the entire year. We just have to stick to how we play the game, and give them everything we got.”
Dixon concludes their season with a record of 17-4, as Catholic improves to 14-10-1.
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