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Stevens girls upset by Roosevelt in semifinals
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Stevens girls upset by Roosevelt in semifinals

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When Rapid City Stevens finally got on the board, it was all but over.

Riley Schad eyed a cross off a corner kick and narrowly got the ball over the goal line to make it a one-score game with 18 seconds to play.

The Raiders tried to get another shot off, but time was simply too short as No. 7 Sioux Falls Roosevelt secured the 2-1 upset victory over No. 3 Stevens in the semifinals of the Class AA Girls Soccer State Tournament Tuesday at Sioux Park.

“It kind of sucks that our season’s done, but I have a lot of pride in those girls. They played well, we had the chances and we had the opportunities,” Raiders head coach Luis Usera said. “The best team won. They finished when we made our two mistakes, and we couldn’t quite punish them when they made mistakes, so I told that team that if we were going to lose to anyone, I was glad it was that team because I thought they played well.”

Roosevelt (10-2-1) took the advantage early when Soraya Espino tallied a goal from close range in the seventh minute. Stevens (11-2-1) responded by earning a pair of set pieces and back-to-back corner kicks, but its shots sailed wide of and over the net.

The Raiders managed to put just two shots on goal out of four in the first half, allowing three of four from the Rough Riders.

“I think we were just a little bit put down after they scored their first goal, but we kept pushing and we were trying our best, and that’s all you can do,” sophomore midfielder Trinity Reagan said. “We were pushing the half the whole time, we just couldn’t get in the goal.”

Ashlyn Kelliher scored Roosevelt’s second goal of the match two minutes into the second half by stealing a pass in the box following a short goalie kick, and lifting the ball over the goalie.

Stevens upped the tempo from there and added a striker to its front line, but were forced to take deep shots from outside the box. The Raiders had one shot off a corner blocked by Rough Rider defenders in the 44th minute, and a high shot by Annika Enevoldsen forced the Roosevelt goalkeeper to make a leaping save in the 51st minute. 

Stevens had five corner kick opportunities in the second half and couldn’t punch one in until the closing seconds.

“We just tried to move players around. I think we had the best players on the field,” Usera said. “The whole second half we were there, and we made the one mistake and they capitalized on it. It could be a 1-1 game, it could be in overtime right now, but it just didn’t happen that way.”

The Raiders collected 10 total shots in the second half and put four on target. Their defense held the Rough Riders to one shot on goal in the final 40 minutes, their second tally, and allowed just two total shots.

It’s just the second time this season where Stevens earned less than two goals in a game, and the loss marks its first in eight games. The Raiders ended their 2020 campaign one game shy of a state title game appearance. 

“As a coach, you couldn’t ask for a better group. Everyone, if the players who didn’t get much game time, they’re sisters. I’m proud of who they are as girls, as women. They didn’t quit until the ref blew the whistle. You can’t ask for anything else.”

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