St. James Academy was 8-8-1 before Friday night's Class 4-1A girls soccer semifinal, but that didn't fool Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat.
The Thunder scored an early goal and got the game-winner in the second half of a 2-1 defensive matchup at Maize South High.
"They are a great team," Treat said of the team from Lenexa. "We had to play counterattack soccer all night long but just couldn't pull it out."
Less than two minutes into the game, Bethany Smith gave St. James a 1-0 lead.
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"We wanted to come out strong and play our game early," Treat said. "Unfortunately with their goal, it changed the tone of the game right away."
The Rockets answered with a goal from goals leader Kalyn Pfaff in the 16th minute.
The defenses took over, holding the game at a tie until the final 10 minutes.
St. James sent 15 second-half shots at Rose Hill goalkeeper Emily Harris.
St. James succeeded on its last shot, a goal from Madelyn Buckner.
"Emily was unbelievable tonight," Treat said of Harris. "Knowing that she has only been a goalie for two years and puts that type of performance together was extremely impressive."
St. James faces Topeka Hayden in today's final, while Rose Hill faces Kansas City Piper in the third-place match.
"We still have another opportunity to bring home a trophy and we can't let it pass," Treat said. "The girls worked extremely hard tonight but will have to work through the exhaustion and be ready to go tomorrow."
Topeka Hayden (12-6-1) 4 3 — 7 KC Piper (14-4) 1 0 — 1
First half—Hayden, Andres (unassisted); Seitz (unassisted); R. Watson (Andres); Piper, McGinnis (Gunnels); Hayden, K. Watson (unassisted). Second half— Hayden, Seitz (unassisted), R. Watson (unassisted), Myers. Shots— Hayden 17-13—30, Piper 2-2—4. Saves— Hayden, Pimental 1-1—2; Piper, Ferguson, 6-8—14.
St. James Academy (9-8-1) 1 1 — 2 Rose Hill (14-5) 1 0 — 1
First half—St. James, Smith (unassisted); Rose Hill, Pfaff (unassisted). Second half— St. James, Buckner (unassisted). Shots— St. James 8-15—23, Rose Hill 1-3—4. Saves— St. James, Flax 0-2—2; Rose Hill, Harris 4-14—18.