After a scoreless first half against St. Louis, Teurlings coach Lance Peltier said he told his team at halftime to stop playing to the Saints’ strength — keeping the ball in the air.
“We are a possession team,” Peltier said. “St. Louis is very strong in the air and in the first half, we tried to match kickballs with them. We felt like if we could control the ball and get a few more possessions, we could get some open shots or a set piece.”
In the 46th minute, the Lady Rebels got a corner which was sent perfectly into the box. The ball ricocheted off of Hannah Savoie and bounced right down to Oriana Broussard’s foot. Broussard finished in the upper 90 for the game’s only score, sending sent Teurlings to the state semifinals with a 1-0 victory.
“As you can tell by the score, it was a tight game,” Peltier said. “We knew they were coming here to win the game. The corner kick was beautifully executed. It ricocheted off Hannah Savoie and Oriana put did what we ask her to do, which is put those goals away.”
St. Louis coach Duncan McDonald said the game plan going in was to keep the ball away from Savoie as much as possible. He said they executed that plan beautifully, but Teurlings just “found a way to get ahead.”
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” McDonald said. “We played them earlier in the year so we knew exactly what to expect. We executed perfectly and I have never been more proud of my group of girls.”
After the goal was scored, Teurlings had a 10-minute stretch where it got five shots on goal, but couldn’t get that second tally. Savoie put one off the cross bar in the 58th minute; Regan Setliff hit a shot off the far post in the 59th minute followed by back to back possessions with a shot on goal by Savoie.
“We were able to get those shots because our girls settled down and we put the ball on the ground,” Peltier said. “We played possession. They were very strong in the air; we don’t do well against teams like that. We couldn’t get another one home, but I was pleased with the girls playing the possession game.”
McDonald said after falling behind, the Saints had to switch the game plan. He began pushing players forward to try and get the goal, including a near perfect corner kick from Maggie O’Dowd in the 76th minute. Teurlings keeper Allie Joubert made the save on the corner and the Lady Rebels defense, led by center back Kirstie Camel, preserved the clean sheet.
“Once they scored, we needed to change it up a bit,” McDonald said. “We kept pushing people forward and just trying to put shots on the goal and hope something would happen. We just weren’t able to do that.”
“The defense was unbelievable,” Peltier added. “Kirstie really keeps control on the whole back line. They dropped when they needed to drop. They won the balls in the air. St. Louis is very good on set pieces and at the end of the game, Allie made a beautiful save on a very nice ball. I couldn’t have asked them to do more.”
Peltier said despite the Lady Rebels’ five losses, he never felt like his team was tested to the brink. He admitted St. Louis did that Saturday. He said the win is what Teurlings needed to get the necessary momentum to win its third consecutive state championship.
“We have lost some games to some very good teams (this season),” Peltier said. “Most of those losses were in tournament play. We never felt like a team had pushed us to the limit to see exactly what we have. This team did that tonight. I am very proud of our girls. I knew we were capable and they showed us that tonight.”