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BCC's Miracle Ending Propels it into National Title Game
Click here to view an online photo gallery from the match.
November 16, 2012 - Sunday's banquet that opened the 2012 NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament ended with a magic act.
But nothing that the magician did that evening will ever compare to the magic act Brevard Community College pulled off at the final whistle on Friday in advancing to the tournament's championship game at Melbourne Central Catholic.
The magic came off the right foot of freshman and Palm Bay High graduate Katlyn Bales who had a solid season and postseason at right midfielder and while not a prolific scorer netted BCC's first goal of the semifinal match and the goal that will forever live in BCC lore.
Remember the Titans and remember Katlyn Bales.
BCC, which improved to 16-1 in a season in which it displayed remarkable grit and gumption, plays 2010 champion Paradise Valley Community College at 6 p.m. Saturday for the national title.
Tyler finished its season at 19-3-2.
The winning goal, kicked by BCC's Katlyn Bales sails past Tyler goalkeeper Katherine VanMeter with time running out in the match.
The goal came at the end of a half that Tyler dominated by tying the score with 41 minutes and 30 seconds to play. It was a result of something BCC has shown all season: teamwork.
Freshman defender Heather Williams, whose booming right leg has kept BCC in game after game, fed the ball to fellow freshman Sue Kumaning who found Bales open and the rest they'll say is history.
"I looked up and there's no defenders around me and I looked at the goal and I looked at the clock and I heard the countdown, so I'm like 'I've got to shoot this, this is our last chance," an emotional Bales said.
"I could cry," Bales said. "I'm really going to cry."
That the ball came from Kumaning was fitting since she suffered a badly sprained left ankle in Wednesday's semifinal victory and was not 100 percent on Friday.
But she got the ball to Bales who lifted a long, arching shot from 25 yards out that Tyler keeper Katherine VanMeter could not reach as it found the back of the net.
Bedlam ensued as BCC players and coaches rushed the field to embrace only to quickly turn their attention to the game officials who huddled between the benches before declaring that the goal counted.
More bedlam followed the ending that was as dramatic as it was unexpected.
"I've never been part of something like that before," BCC head coach Jeff Carr said. "I've seen it in basketball, I've seen it in football . . . I've never part of that. How appropriate one of our local girls scored two big goals today.
"I am speechless, I am exhausted, I'm glad I don't have to coach again today. We're in the national championship game. It is awesome. It is awesome."
That BCC was able to get to that point was testament to the resilience of a team that lost two starters and two key reserves for the season to injuries and had two others miss time with concussions.
Carr throughout his recruiting has emphasized not only soccer ability but character as well and it paid off.
"I am just touched and moved by the never-say-die attitude of these girls," an emotional Carr said.
"It's just a testimony to them playing for each other. I wanted to have quality young ladies on and off the pitch and I am so proud of them. I recruited quality players but quality people first. That's made a big difference in the chemistry of the team and being there for each other."
BCC players celebrate the miracle win that sends them to the National Championship.
It was all that and a bit of good fortune – as in the goal by BCC sophomore Courtney Hueston ricocheting off the post and into the net past VanMeter with 2:45 to play in the first half for a 2-1 BCC lead – that propelled BCC.
But also more than a show of character as Tyler tied things on sophomore Stacie Murray's second-half that ricocheted off the same post as Hueston's and gave the Apaches the momentum that they did not surrender until the final seconds.
Bales' first goal at the 31:20 mark of the first half put BCC ahead but Tyler drew even when sophomore Kaitlin Martindale beat BCC keeper Julia Kantor at the 15:14 mark.
From then on it was a back and forth game in which VanMeter and Kantor made key save after key save to keep their teams alive, that is until Bales' last bit of magic.
For Tyler coach Corey Rose, whose team also won the national title in 2009 but lost to Paradise in 2010, the loss hurt.
"We lost in the semifinal to a team that battled hard at home and had a good home field advantage just as we did in 2009," Rose said.
As for the ending: "To me a loss is a loss," he said. "Learn from the every experience that you're in. That's why you push people forward."
Tyler did enjoy an advantage in a deeper bench that Rose used in substituting liberally throughout the game while Carr substituted minimally. But BCC was able to keep Tyler at bay.
Now the opportunity awaits.
"We wanted it so bad," Bales said. "That was just everything we gave these past couple days, everything in that one play, the whole entire team. We got it in because we wanted it more."