With 10 minutes remaining and the score knotted at 0-0 in Tuesday's Class 3A North girls soccer regional title game between Eastern Tech and No. 5 C. Milton Wright, an unidentified Mustangs defender screamed, "we only need one goal to win this game."
That anonymous C. Milton Wright defender's proclamation turned out to be spot on, as midfielder Katie Burgee sent an 18-yard rocket into the Mavericks' net six minutes later, giving the Mustangs all they would need to claim a 1-0 victory and earn a spot in Saturday's 3A state semifinal.
The game's lone scoring sequence began when the Mavericks were called for obstruction near the right sideline, 35 yards from their own end line. C. Milton Wright fullback Angela Kuhn took the kick and curled it into the middle of the Eastern Tech box. A Maverick defender got to the cross first, but her attempt to clear the ball wound up at Burgee's feet. Burgee cut to shed a defender and create some space, then hit a right-footed, far-post shot that found the upper corner of the opposition's goal.
"We moved Katie from fullback to halfback at the end of the season," Mustangs coach Paul Austin said. "She's adjusted very well. That was a big shot, a big goal. We really needed it."
Burgee's goal came on the heels of two near misses, as teammates Megan Frailer and Kelsey Targarona both sent 25-yard free kicks inches over the cross bar in the final 10 minutes.
The Mustangs had chances in the scoreless first half as well, but failed to capitalize — something Austin pointed out during his team's half-time break.
"We had a few opportunities and couldn't finish them," Austin said. "At halftime, we told the girls, 'Keep pressuring and something will happen.' We knew that if they kept pushing forward, working on the [Eastern Tech] defense, that somebody could score. We said coming in that this team was very physical, and that it was not going to be an easy game, but we knew it would just take one goal."
C. Milton Wright keeper Stacy Venanzi was credited with three saves in the victory.
With the win, the Mustangs will move on to play in the 3A semifinals at Catonsville Community College on Saturday. They will face the winner of the Class 3A West title game between Urbana and Damascus.
"We played Urbana early on this season, at a tournament, and they beat us," Austin said. "At that point, we hadn't played any scrimmages because of all the rain. We know what they have, and if it's Urbana that we have to play, we'll know what to change in practice this week."