COLUMBIA — For the second consecutive season, the Rock Bridge girls soccer team ended its regular season with a loss to Lee's Summit West. But the Bruins said they were not disappointed with the 2-1 defeat.
When the Titans' Kaitlynn Barnes kicked the ball out of bounds to end the game, the Bruins did not hang their heads. They did not pout as they surrounded their coach in the postgame huddle.
And after that huddle, before leaving their sideline, several of the players stretched out on the grass together. Laying head-to-feet they spelled out "Prom" to help senior Mary Bowman ask a friend standing nearby to be her date.
They said their spirits were up because they had played a strong game against one of Missouri's best.
"We played pretty darn well against a top team in the state," Rock Bridge coach Marc VanDover said. "I'm pretty pleased with that."
When the Titans' Jaycie Johnson scored with 10.5 seconds left in the first half, it was the sophomore's 43rd goal of the season. As a freshman, Johnson was named to the second All-State team, the only freshman in 2010 to be recognized on any Class 3 All-State team.
Lee's Summit West came out strong in the second half, with Katie Davis scoring about five minutes in. The senior was named the Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 by the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association and is signed to play at Missouri State next year.
Bruins forward Carmen Boessen said that under the pressure, her team stepped up.
"I felt how bad we wanted it," Boessen said. "I felt a responsibility for my team, and I think we all felt that. We had so much heart in this game."
The junior scored Rock Bridge's only goal 13 minutes into the second half.
"This is the best team we've seen all season," Boessen said. "It (the game) lifted our team up. We know we can run with the top teams."
VanDover said the game was similar to last year's, when the Bruins fell 4-3 to the Titans in Lee's Summit.
"We wanted to play with confidence and take that into districts, which we did," VanDover said.
The Bruins went on to claim the District 3 title and advanced to the Class 3 Final Four. Lee's Summit West lost in its district championship to Smith-Cotton. Both Rock Bridge and Lee's Summit West are seeded No. 1 in their district tournament this season and could meet again in the Final Four.
"If we meet them at state, it's full guns," Boessen said "We're not coming home with fourth place."
Hickman hosts this season's Class 3, District Tournament. The Kewpies play Washington at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Rock Bridge plays the winner at 5 p.m. Monday.