COLUMBIA -- The Academic Magnet girls soccer team reigns supreme thanks to super sophomore Kallie Peurifoy and sure-handed junior goalkeeper Emily Gossen.
Peurifoy had a sensational state playoff run, capping it Friday afternoon with a pair of first-half goals to help the Raptors gain a 3-1 victory over Christ Church in the Class AA-A state championship match at Memorial Stadium.
"I told the girls every time we scored, 'It's still zero to zero, it's still zero to zero,' " said Academic Magnet coach Anna Merriman. "I can't even believe it until the final whistle blows."
It was Academic Magnet's first state championship in girls soccer and it might not be its last since there were no seniors in the starting lineup and only two on the roster. Another key piece of the title puzzle is Gossen, a reliable keeper the entire season. She had 10 saves Friday against the Cavaliers.
"Golly, you just have to give it up to our keeper," Merriman said. "It was her second year on the all-state team and she absolutely deserves it. I've never seen anyone make saves like that."
Said Christ Church coach Chris Nichols: "Honestly, the player of the game has to be their keeper. She had four or five impressive saves. If any one of them goes in, it changes the complexion of the game."
Peurifoy and the Raptors (20-3-1) wasted little time in making a statement. Peurifoy scored in the eighth minute, taking the ball to the inline and slotting it from the 6-yard box to make it 1-0 with an unassisted goal.
"We knew we had to come out strong," Peurifoy said. "Getting that early goal gave us confidence."
Freshman Emma Gallagher scored on a rebound in the 15th minute to push the lead to 2-0.
Peurifoy's second goal came from the top of the box on the right side, a rifle shot from 20 yards out.
Christ Church (20-5) later got on the scoreboard on a goal by Alyssa Althoff.
Christ Church outshot the Raptors, 18-8, but the Raptors were efficient with three goals on their first four attempts, including the opening goal just 7:39 into the match.
"That was kind of our plan, to come out and score an early goal and sort of surprise them," Nichols said. "But it didn't work out that way. The girls were relaxed because we have been here. We had a miscommunication and that left one of their players unmarked and all of a sudden it's 1-0."
Merriman said the Raptors have enough talent returning next year to contend for another state title.
"We have a wonderful team coming back next year, and I couldn't be more excited," she said.