SPRINGFIELD — All the Glendale Falcons needed was 36 seconds to beat Rock Bridge 2-0 in the Class 3 state quarterfinals.
The match remained relatively even until the closing minutes. Neither team had scored, and the number of possessions was nearly equal. But with 7:40 left in the second half, Glendale's Molly Brewer, a senior midfielder, scored the first goal of the game. Thirty-six seconds later, Glendale scored its second goal on a breakaway by senior forward Sarah Powell.
The Bruins could not do the same, even if their players never saw a loss in their future.
"I thought at the end of the first half we had them," Rock Bridge coach Marc VanDover said.
The Glendale defenders were tired and arguing after those first 40 minutes of play, he said.
But Brewer seemed to find her rhythm in the second half, allowing her team to take the lead and secure its second consecutive postseason victory over Rock Bridge.
Aggression was prevalent for both teams. The referees called multiple penalties and even gave Glendale two yellow cards. The heated contest was a reminder of last year's battle and what was at stake.
"The winner goes to the final four, so you expect physicality to be a part of it," VanDover said.
The effort did not make the loss any easier.
After shaking hands with Glendale players, the Rock Bridge girls stood in a circle, arms wrapped around one another, crying. Goalkeeper Madison Boyken, who made several key saves, stood in the goal box for several minutes after the game until her teammate, senior forward Carmen Boessen, walked her to the sidelines.
"I'm coming out of this game proud of my team," Boessen said. "We played more physical and rose to the occasion."
The Falcons will be traveling to Kansas City next weekend for the Class 3 semifinals. The team took third in last year's competition after beating Rock Bridge 1-0 in two overtimes during sectionals.