NORMAN — Bri Kuestersteffen’s heroics were well worth the wait for her Norman North teammates and fans.
The senior, normally part of the Timberwolves’ back line, moved forward late in the game and converted the night’s only goal, lifting North past Bishop McGuinness 1-0 and into the semifinals of the Class 6A state soccer tournament Friday night.
“This just means everything,” she beamed after the team dogpiled on the pitch at the conclusion of the game.
North advances to face Broken Arrow Tuesday night. B.A. knocked off defending state runner-up Jenks 1-0 Friday night.
This one was a tough one for North, literally, as McGuinness took the fight to the T-Wolves with aggressive play that included 16 fouls and a yellow card.
With 8:40 to go, the Irish got a little too aggressive, with two defenders hauling Kuestersteffen down in the penalty area. But that didn’t lead to a score, as Simone Ryan’s penalty kick hit the cross bar and caromed out.
But less than a minute later, North was right back on the attack, with Lexi Carroll racing McGuinness goalkeeper Hannah Frogge to a bouncing ball at the top of the box. Kuestersteffen, who was trailing the play, describes the rest.
“The goalie made a great save, but when she kicked it out, it hit Sheridan (Spelman) in the face and just fell right at my feet,” she said. “The goalie was out of position and I was able to just kick it in.”
And that was all the Timberwolves needed.
North had the better of the play most of the game, but always had to be aware of McGuinness’ potent frontline, led by Erin Eckart.
Eckart spent most of the evening marked closely by Simon and Yazmeen Ryan, as well as Kuestersteffen and any other North player who happened to be around her.