KANSAS CITY — St. Dominic sent Kearney to the Class 3 third-place game with three straight second-half goals to secure a 3-2 win in the state soccer tournament semifinals on Friday, May 31.

The Bulldogs came into the matchup down seniors Saige Williams and Abigail Logan, both captains who received red cards in Kearney’s 2-0 win over Notre Dame de Sion in the quarterfinals.

“In the back we came out really flat,” Kearney coach Amanda Hopkins said. “I have two girls playing in the back that don’t normally play in the back right now, so that was a little rough to start. But once we finally got a little bit of attack, it started clicking better for us.”

Kearney survived an opening onslaught of offense from St. Dominic and rallied late in the first half to break a scoreless tie.

Junior Caroline Kelly striped a ball across the net to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 edge in the 32nd minute of action.

“It did,” Hopkins said on the goal giving Kearney a boost of confidence. “You saw a whole lot more attack from our team after we scored that goal. There was more confidence, we pushed up better, we filled the gaps, we put more attacks together which we hadn’t at all before that goal.”

The Bulldogs carried their 1-0 lead into halftime.

St. Dominic found an equalizer eight minutes into the second half as the Crusaders attacked off a Kearney corner kick with Grace Bindbeutel finding the back of the net.

Six minutes later, St. Dominic took the lead for good as Avery Malloy hooked in a shot from the top of the box into the upper left corner of the goal.

The Bulldogs best chance of the night to tie the game came at the midway point of the second half as Kelly, the team’s leading scorer, found herself with space on a breakaway. The junior danced around a pair of defenders before letting loose a rocket with her right foot, only for the Crusaders keeper, Allison Palmatier, to deflect it away.

“Had she just shot that with her left foot, it would have been in,” Hopkins said.

The deflection led to a pair of corner kicks for the Bulldogs. They were ultimately fruitless.

The Crusaders cashed in an insurance goal from Jessica Larson in the 71st minute to lead 3-1.

Kearney got back within a goal in the dying minutes of the contest as Caysi Brown corralled a shot of the crossbar to bring the Bulldogs back within one in the 76th minute.

Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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