EDMOND — A quick two-goal blitz by a senior was enough to push her team back to the championship game.
Lauren Bulcroft scored twice just before halftime as the Verdigris girls soccer team defeated Oklahoma Christian School 2-0 Tuesday night in Edmond in the Class 3A state semifinals.
Verdigris (16-2) is headed to the state title game for the 10th time in the past 12 seasons.
OCS (15-2) made it tough on the Lady Cardinals, but Bulcroft just needed a couple of chances to get the job done.
Verdigris coach Stacia Risenhoover said it feels incredible to be headed back to the title game.
“We’ve worked really hard this season,” Risenhoover said. “We’ve improved over this season. It feels really good because they’ve worked really hard. They’ve played really well. In their last few games, they’ve really come together.”
Bulcroft’s goals came with 5:50 and 3:44 remaining in the first half. OCS had dominated the first roughly 20 minutes of the game, but sophomore goalkeeper Lillian Adams denied both shots the Lady Saints fired her way.
The Lady Cardinals’ only chance of this period came on a deep free kick by sophomore Evee Jones, but OCS freshman goalkeeper Hadley Watson was just able to get her hands on it to keep the game goalless.
Risenhoover said she thought her team looked disorganized during the early portion of the game.
“I felt like we kind of took over the game once we settled down,” Risenhoover said. “I don’t know if it was just nerves or what it was, but they’re a good team, definitely. That could have been part of it, also. They won a lot of the 50/50 balls in that first 20 minutes, and we just had to get it through our head we had to come and play hard today.”
As the game progressed, Verdigris found its rhythm and began to take over. OCS did not find a shot on target in the second half, but the Lady Cardinals forced four saves from Watson.
With 26:38 remaining in the game, Bulcroft nearly had her hat trick. Sophomore Abigail Barnes delivered a free kick into the box, but Bulcroft couldn’t quite get her head to it.
OCS earned two free kicks in dangerous positions in the second half, but both shots went over the cross bar.
Bulcroft’s goals stood as the only goals of the game after a goalless second half. Risenhoover said Bulcroft has grown into a solid forward.
“She gets double-teamed, triple-teamed,” Risenhoover said. “She’s held her composure. She held her composure today, being held through everything. And then, when she gets her chances, she just put it in the net. Held her composure there, looked very comfortable when she did have the ball and got through and had a little space.”
The Lady Cardinals will play for its sixth championship at 3 p.m. Saturday against Christian Heritage at Rogers State University’s Solider Field, which is only a 9-mile drive from the Verdigris campus.