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Eleven minutes into Jefferson Forest's Group 4A state semifinal match against heavily-favored Midlothian, Cassidy Ratliff's prayers came true.
Less than two minutes later, so did her dreams.
The senior forward scored two goals in that span; the first “a gift from God” that went through the hands of the Trojans goalkeeper.
“I'm glad I prayed this morning,” Ratliff said after the game.
The second goal showcased Ratliff's skill, as she split two defenders and then beat the goalkeeper with a 15-yard shot from the left to give JF an astonishing 2-0 lead, a lead the Lady Cavs would hold through halftime and the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Making the state finals had been the team's goal. “I feel so blessed to be a part of this team,” Ratliff said.
Her two goals helped pave the way for that victory.
“Those (two goals) really settled us into the game,” stated JF coach Stan Golon. “We thought our possession game could possibly could wear them down a little bit.”
Midlothian's Kari Johnston cut the margin in half at that point, creating an exciting—and sometimes tense—final 27 minutes.
“We knew they were going to come out swinging,” Golon said about the Trojans' second half effort.
The JF girls had a chance to breathe easier with just under six minutes left when a shot by junior Katie Cousins crunched the left crossbar, but failed to slip in.
“We wanted it real, real bad,” stated senior defender Lindsay Broman about the victory, noting that “passion has a funny way of trumping logic.”
“They thought they were going to win and came out pretty relaxed. They did not expect us to score on them twice,” Broman said.
The defense played stellar down the stretch, holding the Midlothian O in check.
Logic might have said, the Lady Cavs shouldn't have advanced to the state Group 4A championship. On Friday, passion—mixed in with a little prayer—won out.