At some point, Rachel Allen was going to find the back of the net Thursday afternoon in Georgetown.
It was nearly a foregone conclusion.
There were times during the 4A girls' soccer state championship that it felt like Midlothian Heritage was in complete control. In fact, the match seemed to tilt that way for most of the first half, all of the second half and even into the second overtime period.
Yet, the Jaguars trailed the Jasper Lady Bulldogs 1-nil as the two headed into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
"Jasper is a really good team and has been here the last four years. I have a lot of respect for them,” Heritage head girls' soccer coach Gerald Slovacek said. “They scored on a nice corner kick and I felt like they countered us pretty well at times.
"[…] Other than that I thought we possessed the ball well and I told them before the game that we needed to shoot the ball more. We did that tonight and just fought like crazy."
Heritage had taken 19 shots to the six of Jasper through the first 70 minutes.
And still trailed.
That all changed two ticks before the 71st minute when a freshman sent the Jaguar faithful in attendance at Birkelbach Field into a frenzy.
No, not Allen. Her time came later.
The equalizer came off of the foot of Kylar Kenter after a free kick. She managed to keep her feet and fire in the loose ball from the right side of goal. The goal was her seventh of the season.
One day prior, Kenter scored in the shootout during the state semifinal match to help keep the Jaguars' title dreams alive.
After the match, Heritage senior Brittiney Gardner said she "was relieved because a lot of teammates' heads were dropping and I knew that they were thinking 'it's over.' Then Kylar put it in and we bounced back pretty quickly."
The 1-1 score held into the final horn of regulation.
Jasper had taken just one shot in the second half after attempting five in the first. There would not be another Lady Bulldog shot attempt, while Heritage had six more — and the biggest one in program history — left to take.
THE HISTORY MAKER
Allen had her chances to score in the first half on a day where she took a game-high 10 shots.
She uncorked a shot-on-goal in the 14th minute that had Jasper goalkeeper Britney Richard beat had it not skipped a few inches outside of the left post.
A handball two minutes later gave Allen another quality look. But her free kick from 15 yards out sailed about a foot over the crossbar.
Jasper’s Richard got enough of a glove on the fourth shot by Allen (24th minute) to deflect it out of the net. The Lady Bulldogs quickly cleared the loose ball.
A carbon-copy of the sequence played through again eight minutes later.
The freshman kept pushing.
"Rachel is an unbelievable athlete and an unbelievable kid," Slovacek said. "[...] She has only one gear and she is going to get it done."
With the clock seemingly moving faster and faster toward zeros, Allen came through.
Her goal off of a Kayla Aston assist came with 28 seconds to play in the second and final overtime period.
Slovacek then carried her off of the field after she went down with a leg injury on the game-winning shot. Allen exited with an eruption of support from teammates on the sideline and classmates in the stands.
A couple of clears and one long-awaited celebration later, those same Jaguar teammates lifted her into the air after she received the plaque as the 4A state championship MVP.
Sophomore goalkeeper Megan McCarthy earned the win for Heritage. She recorded three saves in 100 minutes of action.
Shortly after he and the girls received their gold state championship medals, Slovacek said, "I have preached to them all year to have a team-first mentality. From the seniors to the freshmen, they all bought into that mentality, and it didn't matter who was on the field they were all going to play for each other."
He added, "It is an amazing feeling. From the get-go, I knew that we could get here. They believed in my message and each other, and we got it done."