Caroline Casey of the Columbus Academy field hockey team found a wide-open goal with 18 seconds remaining, breaking a scoreless tie and giving the Vikings a 1-0 win over Thomas Worthington on Friday in a state semifinal at Upper Arlington.

"The team set it up perfectly," Casey said. "I saw a defender go down and fortunately I was there."

Academy improved to 17-1-2 and advanced to the final at 1 p.m. Saturday at UA against Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame or Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown.

"I'm thrilled for (Casey) to have this opportunity," Academy coach Anne Horton said. "She's a little workhorse for us and when Layne Averill went down (broken foot) she said to me, 'Coach, I know you need me more than ever.'"

Thomas coach Terri Simonetti-Frost questioned the validity of the goal

"It says in the rule book that a lifted ball into the circle should be coming out, not in," said Simonetti, referring to Casey's winning goal.

"When she approached us she thought the shot was too high," said second official Elizabeth Fickert, who's officiated for 25 years and state tournaments for more than a decade. "The question is not whether it's too high, but whether it's dangerous. We felt the players weren't in a dangerous area and therefore we allowed it."

Academy finished with 12 shots on goal to Thomas' two as the Cardinals did not have a shot on goal in the second half. Thomas finished 16-2-2.

"We came out strong the first 10 minutes of the game," said Simonetti-Frost, whose team won the program's second state title last season. "In the second half we made some adjustments but the kids' legs got tired. I would have liked to see it go into overtime instead of ending on a call like that."

Academy is making its 10th appearance in a state championship game. The Vikings have won eight, with their last title coming in 2006.