DENVER — Madeline Hunt's goal in double overtime lifted Kent Denver over Colorado Academy on Tuesday night, and into field hockey's championship game.
Hunt, a junior for the Sun Devils, deflected a shot from Olivia Baglieri off a corner with 8:53 remaining in the second overtime. It gave the third-seeded Sun Devils a sudden victory over No. 2 Colorado Academy, 1-0, in the semifinals.
"I just saw the ball coming for me, threw my stick out there, and just prayed that it would go in the goal," Hunt said afterward. "It felt amazing. We're going to state, round two."
Indeed, the win puts Kent Denver back into a familiar spot: the championship game. The Sun Devils are defending champions, and have won a sport-best 10 titles. Thursday's championship match will be the program's 14th appearance.
Colorado Academy and Kent Denver opened their seasons against one another back on Aug. 26, a 2-0 Kent win where Hunt scored both goals.
Tuesday's match was a stalemate, with the two storied programs battling to a scoreless tie in regulation, and then through a scoreless 10-minute overtime. That set the stage for Hunt's tally early in the second OT.
"We came out harder than we've ever come out this season, and it really was just an incredible game," Hunt said.
Both teams had their chances throughout the game, but goalies Sophie Corbett of Kent and Ellie Bauer of Colorado Academy were equal to the task.
"CA played outstanding and I knew they were going to give us one heck of a game," said Kent Denver coach Kathy James. "It was a great fight, it was a good game, it was good hockey, and it was very enjoyable to watch and be apart of. Two great teams."
Kent Denver will face another familiar opponent in the championship: Top-seeded Palmer Ridge, which beat Regis Jesuit in the semifinals.
The two teams met in last season's championship game, and also played on Sept. 18. Kent Denver won both meetings.
"Palmer will also provide a really great game," James said. "Anytime that a team is driven to play at their maximum level, I think that's what we all aspire for. To have two games like that is really exciting."