Anna Ruby fed Hannah Dintino the ball with four seconds left to play in the first half.
Dintino, a speedy Westminster midfielder, carried the ball to the top of the arc and fired her shot to the back of the net to tie the Owls with Manchester Valley, 6-6. The Owls carried that momentum into the second half to defeat the Mavericks 12-9 in the Class 3A West Section 1 final at Glenelg High School on Monday to earn a second consecutive trip to the regional final.
“It was very important,” Dintino said. “Coming off the field, everyone was excited, not just me. As Stevens said, it’s a 0-0 game so we came out in the second half not wanting it to be 0-0.”
Dintino and Ruby paced the Owls with four goals apiece. Lauren Saltz added two goals and Dintino contributed an assist.
Manchester Valley scored the first three goals of the game to lead 4-1 through the first nine minutes of play. The Owls responded with two goals from Dintino and Ruby to bring them within two with 12:52 left on the clock.
Mavericks goalie Brynn Knight, who made three saves, stopped a free position attempt from Ruby with 11:54 to play and the Mavs responded on a connection between senior midfielder Mia Alvarez and senior attacker Maddie Callahan to give the Mavs a two-goal lead again.
The teams exchanged goals before Dintino scored to close out the first half, her third goal of the night.
Dintino found Ruby for a low shot early in the second half to kickstart the Owls’ drive, but Man Valley continued to push back. Senior midfielder Jeri Garland found the back of the net twice in the second half to help the Mavs tie the teams 8-8.
Josey Shaffer found the back of the net with 10:55 left to play and the Owls scored the final three goals of the contest.
Both teams led a balanced attack combined with a solid defensive performance similar to the last time the two teams met in the regular season when Westminster edged the Mavs 9-8.
Man Valley coach Shelly Brezicki said the coaches asked the girls for one thing, and that was to hold their heads high and play hard. Senior Abby Ziegenfuse said the Mavericks put their heart and soul into every play against the Owls.
“We started strong and came out with the first couple draws but they obviously have a very talented team and they got a couple,” Ziegenfuse said. “We battled hard but it ended the way it was and it’s unfortunate but it was a good game.”
The Owls used goalies Jessica Hise and Sara Tyssowski against the Mavs — Hise made two saves in the first half and Tyssowski made five in the second.
“I think it’s definitely coming in to play together as a team, we talk about aggressiveness, their attitude and their effort and those three things help,” said Westminster coach Jackie Stevens. “The draws were a little touch and go there for a while but once we started possessing, we changed the dynamic and tying it up at halftime was huge for sure.”
Goals: MV-Jeri Garland 4, Josey Shaffer, Maddie Callahan, Belle Wade, Mia Alvarez; W-Katie Pettine, Hannah Dintino 4, Lauren Saltz 2, Anna Ruby 4, Chloe Sedlar.