LITHIA — River Ridge came into its match against Newsome teeming with emotion.
After all, the Royal Knights had a goal disallowed in the final minute against the Wolves in the region quarterfinals last season, a match Newsome won 1-0. From the opening whistle Tuesday, the Royal Knights had a spring in their step, a quickness to their pace and intensity in their eyes.
"They came to play, no doubt," Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. "They were physical and they brought it."
But it didn't take the Wolves' Ana Cate long to take it away.
Cate scored four minutes in and assisted on another first-half goal as Newsome advanced with a 2-0 win against visiting River Ridge in the 5A region semifinals. The Wolves will host a region final rematch Friday with George Jenkins, a team that knocked Newsome out of the playoffs last year with a 3-2 win.
"We had the (George Jenkins) game in the palm of our hands last year but they were the better team," Cate said. "We want another shot."
Cate wasted little time putting her stamp on the Tuesday's match. After intercepting an errant pass in the Wolves' half, the senior midfielder shook her mark, cut toward the middle of the field and uncorked a shot that finished in the upper left 90.
The Wolves (23-3-1) struck 23 minutes later when Cate dropped a corner kick into the box that Karina Gutsche finished with a header.
That would be Newsome's final goal of the night, despite a number of quality opportunities.
"We should have had at least three more goals," Townsend said. "We're going to have to be better than that."
River Ridge (18-3) coach Skip Glover felt the Royal Knights let their opportunity get away.
"That was a game we could have won," he said. "There's no point to excuses. Newsome just beat us today."