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L&C Wins OT Thriller From SWIC For Region Title

Article by: Pete Hayes, the Telegraph,

GODFREY — It was a play that seemed to go in slow motion.

When L&C’s Ella Kiely spotted teammate Callie Smith to her left, Kiely acted out of instinct. She sent a square pass to Smith just inside the SWIC penalty area.

And Smith? She knew what she had to do.

“I saw an opening and I wanted to bury it,” Smith said. “(Kiely) worked so hard to keep the ball alive, I wanted to finish.”

She did.

Smith’s goal inside the right goal post with 8:16 remaining in the first sudden-death overtime lifted No. 5-ranked Lewis and Clark Community College to a 1-0 victory over rival Southwestern Illinois College in the championship game of the NJCAA Region 24 Tournament at L&C’s Tim Rooney Field.

Kiely, a sophomore from Fort Zumwalt West High, said getting the ball to Smith was critical.

“Callie was open and she always finishes,” Kiely said. “Always.”

Smith’s goal set off a wild celebration by L&C players and fans, who rushed the field.

“This was a heck of a game,” L&C coach Tim Rooney said. “Ella worked her tail off and got the ball to Callie, who had a great shot.”

The win for L&C was its second overtime victory over SWIC this season. No. 10-ranked SWIC lost a 1-0 OT decision at L&C on Oct. 2 in a game that was eerily similar to Monday’s game. In that one, SWIC dominated much of the play in regulation, but couldn’t find the back of the net and L&C won on an early overtime sudden-death goal by Candice Parziani.

Monday, it was Smith’s turn.

“This means so much,” Smith said. “It feels great.”

The region championship means the Trailblazers (17-2) will advance to the Central District Tournament at STLCC-Meramec in Kirkwood, Missouri. L&C will face Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City, the Region 15 runner-up, at 2 p.m. Thursday at Meramec in a semifinal.

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