The Lady Patriots hadn't advanced to the championship of the 44th District Tournament in 11 years (2009).
And every member of the team knew that when they stepped onto the field on Monday night at Madison Central High School.
"Over the years, we've been so close," said Model junior striker Julia Luxon.
The Lady Patriots finally got it done.
Luxon scored the only goal as Model Laboratory (6-4) topped past Berea Community (0-12), 1-0, in the opening round of the district tournament.
The Lady Patriots are set to face either Madison Central (4-8-1) or Madison Southern (5-3-1) on Thursday in the championship game and will also advance to next week's 11th Region Tournament.
"They've worked hard and really come together," Model coach Mike Austin said. "They just have faith in themselves — and they should."
The Lady Patriots expected a fight for Berea.
That's what they got.
The Lady Pirates finished the season without a win, but all three of their district games were decided by just one goal. Model beat Berea, 1-0, on Sept. 19 at home on a goal from Luxon.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Austin said. "We knew they weren't going to give us anything."
Model had several good offensive looks in the first half, but breaking through.
Anniston Bray worked the ball deep into the right corner, then sent a cross than Luxon knocked out of the air with her left leg.
"We knew that their goalie and their defense is great," Luxon said. "We are just glad to get the win."
Berea keeper Emily Maynard had another outstanding effort. Despite being under pressure for most of the game, the senior came up with a series of big saves.
The Lady Pirates scored just two goals all season and did not get too many scoring opportunities against Model senior keeper McKenna Tuttle.
Luxon's team-best fifth goal of the season was all the Lady Patriots needed to move onto the final.
"It's rewarding. It's good to see all the hard work pay off," Luxon said.
The last time the Lady Patriots advanced to the title game, they went on to win the title.
They will face another challenge in this year's title game.
Model beat Madison Central in a shootout earlier this season, but lost to Madison Southern in a shootout.
"We will see who we get to play and we will see what we can do," Austin said.