MESQUITE — After playing 65 minutes of gritty defense, it looked as if Virgin Valley might pull off one of the biggest girls soccer upsets in the state this season.
Instead, the Bulldogs left the Mesquite Sports Complex on Friday night in season-ending tears.
Junior midfielder Hannah Stevens scored in the 66th minute to break a scoreless tie and ignite top-seeded Faith Lutheran to a 2-0 win over Virgin Valley in a Class 3A Southern League semifinal game.
With the win, the Crusaders (15-0) clinched a trip to the state tournament. They’ll play third-seeded Pahrump Valley at 11 a.m. today to determine which team goes to state as the South’s No. 1 seed.
“I guarantee nobody in the area except for our girls gave us a chance in that game,” Virgin Valley coach Terry Ogden said. “Quite frankly, for about 70 minutes, I think we gave them everything they ever wanted to have and more.”
Maddy Courvoisier scored in the 75th minute to give the Crusaders a 2-0 lead. Sydney Spoon assisted on both goals.
“I think anyone would be nervous in that situation,” Stevens said of the second half. “One of the best feelings is when you’re playing a hard game and it’s tied, and you score that leading goal. It’s a great feeling. I love it.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Marissa Fehrman had two saves in the shutout for Faith Lutheran, which outshot Virgin Valley 16-2.
Senior goalkeeper Jacque Olivé had eight saves for the Bulldogs (7-11-5).
“She’s the best goalie in the state, in my opinion,” Ogden said of Olivé. “Without her in goal, that (defensive) game plan doesn’t work.”
That game plan, Ogden said, was to force overtime by any means necessary and then hope to win on penalty kicks after double OT.
It nearly came to fruition.
Faith Lutheran coach Dave Elliott said he wasn’t worried with a scoreless tie beyond the 65th minute, but acknowledged he became more comfortable after Stevens’ goal.
“Any time we get that first goal,” he said, “we really step up to play. Our defense is our backbone.”
Stevens said the game was not necessarily a wake-up call.
“I think we expected Virgin to come out and play like they did,” she said. “I think we let the crowd get into our heads mentally, but we pushed through it and we came out on top.”
And avoided a stunning upset in the process.
“It takes a big weight off not having to worry about ‘state or no state,’” Elliott said.
Pahrump Valley 1, Boulder City 0 — The third-seeded Trojans upset the second-seeded Eagles to clinch a trip to state.
Samantha Sposato scored in the first half for Pahrump Valley (7-8-2), which got a nine-save shutout from goalkeeper Haley Williams.
The Trojans had seven shots in the game.
Boulder City, which was shut out for the fourth time this season, finished 9-4-2.