Monday’s Division I Quarterfinal game between No. 4 Dominican and No. 5 St. Joseph’s was very much in the balance coming down the stretch. Early mistakes by both squads resulted in goals for the other leading to a 1-1 tie with the final minutes of the game approaching at Pan-American Stadium.
St. Joseph’s had possession looking to potentially take the lead, but Dominican’s Bradley Hughes swooped in for a steal near midfield leading to a transition opportunity. Dominican eventually got the ball to Stella French on the right wing who sent in a sweet cross that Kelsey Major couldn’t connect with.
Hughes, however, was in the right spot once again sending a shot just inside the left goalpost for the eventual game-winning goal in the 72nd-minute of a 2-1 victory.
“The ball came to me and I just thought, ‘I need to get this ball in the goal,’ said Hughes of the go-ahead shot. “I wanted to get the opportunity for my teammates and get it for coach Al (Silvas) because he puts so much work into our practices and we all put so much work in. It’s just really excited…I don’t think I’ve felt something like that in a while.”
Hughes’ dramatic goal sent Dominican (19-1-8) to the semifinals for the first time since 2015, and was the first earned goal of the game after a pair of scores in the first and second half.
Dominican got on the board first when St. Joseph’s tried to clear a ball from a threatening Layton Perkins in pursuit. Keeper Riley White was speeding towards the ball looking to pick it up, though, and an untimely boot by sophomore Madeleine Davis resulted in an own goal in the 35th minute.
“In the quarterfinals with two of the better teams in the state going at it,” Dominican coach Al Silvas began. “You need those mistakes every once in a while for a bit of luck.”
Dominican took the 1-0 lead into halftime over St. Joseph’s (16-6-5), but they would soon return the favor with a mistake of their own.
Dominican freshman goalie Olivia Icamina was coming out to clear a ball, but instead caught the foot of Olivia Hupperich resulting in a yellow card in the box. Icamina caught the worst of the collision limping off, which meant sophomore Rowan French’s first action in the net would be against sophomore Grace Anne Crifasi on a free kick.
Crifasi won that battle sneaking a shot just under the left arm of French inside the right goalpost tying the score at 1-1 in the 40th minute.
“Fortunately for us, both mistakes essentially canceled one another out,” said Silvas, whose team will face top-seeded Northshore on the road in the semifinals. The match would likely be played on Friday.
“Every year we play the top teams in the state to get us ready for the season,” said Silvas, who coached Dominican to a 2-2 tie against Northshore back on December 4. “They were one of the ones on our schedule to get us ready for these types of moments.
“We just want to make the most of our opportunity…hopefully the luck will be on our side. We’re one step away from the big one and at the beginning of the year, that’s all you ask for. Put us in the semis and we’ll get what we get out of it.”