LAFAYETTE — St. Thomas More and St. Scholastisca played went into the final two minutes of their match Tuesday night tied at 1-1.
St. Thomas More then won a corner kick chance and Cougars coach Daniel Underwood said he liked his team’s chances.
“We did nothing but set pieces and corners kicks at practice (Tuesday),” Underwood said. “We have been working on it, so ... I felt confident.”
Hailey Zaunbrecher placed a masterful corner kick into the box and found Amelia Thibodeaux, who buried it in the back of the net to give the Cougars a 2-1 win.
Thibodeaux, who was seeing her first full game back after battling an ankle injury, said her last-minute goal felt “amazing.”
“I knew if (Zaunbrecher) did her job, I would do mine and it was perfect,” Thibodeaux said. “It was my first full game coming back, and every day at practice my team has been fully behind me and I’ve had a lot of support. It feels amazing to be sore again and this win gives us an overall confidence going forward.”
Underwood said he was happy to have Thibodeaux back.
“She is ahead of schedule on her recovery and we have been trying to ease her minutes in,” Underwood said. “This is her first full game and — she’s back!”
SSA got the scoring started early when in the fourth minute Samantha Vercher crossed a ball to the center that Sydney Vincens buried home for a 1-0 lead.
Despite the early goal, Doves coach Mike Ortner said he felt the Cougars set the tone for the game.
“Our first goal came against the run of play, but STM set the tone,” Ortner said. “We set the tempo a little more in the second half, but when (STM) had chances, they were very good looks and they made a lot of chances on our mistakes. They made the most of our mistakes and we failed to do similar.”
Underwood said usually the first team to score wins an evenly matched game, but STM got the equalizer in the 19th minute to make it 1-1. Thibodeaux headed one off the crossbar that came down and was handled by SSA, resulting in a penalty kick.
Zaunbrecher hit the PK right in the lower corner to even up the score.
“That is one of the things we talked about was that regardless of circumstance and regardless of what takes place, we needed to continue to do the things we’ve worked on and stick to the game plan,” Underwood said. “We stuck to it, got the equalizer and a special one at the end.”
STM goalkeeper Carolina Werther made three big saves to keep the Cougars in the game and Underwood said he has come to expect great performances from his junior keeper.
“Caroline has been rock solid all season and that is what she gives us game in and game out,” he said. “That’s exactly what you ask of your keeper is to make the routine ones and save you here and there and tonight she came up with three huge saves to keep us in the game.
“It’s a special group. We have five seniors and we hope they can lead our young team further and obviously, at the end there, you see what they can do.”