ALEDO — It was the kind of highlight-reel appearance no one wants to make, but Monday night there was little the Stephenville Honeybees could do except admire their opponents.
Guyer scored only on picture-perfect plays in downing Stephenville 3-0 in a Class 4A Region I quarterfinal match at Bearcat Stadium.
“That is a great team,” Stephenville coach Casey Weil said of the Wildcats after their sophomore Brittany Crabtree scored twice on improbable shots to bring her season goals total to 34 and teammate Kaitlyn Caro found the twine from 40 yards out.
“It was unbelievable. The girl hit a bomb on us,” was Weil’s description of the lone second-half goal, a laser down the middle of the field by Caro that was too high for a leaping goalkeeper and tucked neatly in the upper reaches of the net.
The win was the 15th straight for Guyer, now 24-1 on the season and ranked No. 3 in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
The Wildcats advance to this weekend’s Region I tournament at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. They will play either El Paso Chapin or Canyon Randall in a 7:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday night. El Paso Chapin and Canyon Randall play at 4 p.m. today at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland. Trophy Club Byron Nelson also secured a berth in the regional tournament on Monday with a 3-0 win over Fort Worth Arlington Heights. Byron Nelson will meet the winner between El Paso Andress and Amarillo in the regionals. Andress and Amarillo play at 6 p.m. today at Odessa’s Ratliff Stadium.
Guyer, which reached the regional final three years ago, is chasing its first state tournament trip in girls soccer.
“It’s amazing with this team,” Guyer coach Kenny Blevins said. “you always enjoy coaching a talented group of players, but anything less than this [reaching the regional tourney] would be considered a great disappointment.”
Crabtree, who had 11 multi-goal games prior to Monday, did not disappoint, pushing it to a dozen by halftime. She left-footed a 30-yard score from the left sideline past a startled goalkeeper, then appeared out of nowhere to head in a corner kick.
“That header off the corner kick, I haven’t seen many girls get up like that at a high school level,” said Weil, whose team finished 17-9-1. “I don’t know that many teams that would be able to defend that.”
Guyer’s first goal didn’t come until the game’s 33rd minute, coming after an injury to Stephenville’s starting goalkeeper.
“We’re used to getting on the scoreboard quite a lot,” said Blevins, whose team has outscored foes 96-13 this year. “But in a game like this, where everybody is playing out of desperation, you can go a long time without getting on the board.”
Honeybees junior Hooper Smith had the wind knocked out of her when she collided with Guyer’s Telia Young as they chased a loose ball that had been headed in front of the Stephenville goal by the Wildcats’ Ashleigh Lyons.
Freshman Emily Miller had been on the field for less than 20 seconds when Crabtree executed one of her niftiest scores.
The Wildcats forward left-footed the ball some 30 yards from the left sideline, into a strong wind and over the head of the fill-in goalie.
The ball settled into the right-front corner of the net to get Guyer on the scoreboard.
“You don’t ever want to throw a freshman goalkeeper into a regional quarterfinal,” Weil said, “but I didn’t have a choice. It was a turning point.”
Stephenville’s starting keeper, Smith, was back between the pipes when Crabtree struck again in the 40th minute to send the Wildcats in at intermission with a 2-0 lead.
It came on a perfectly executed set play as Caro crossed the ball on a corner kick from the right side of the pitch. Crabtree flashed unmarked in front of the goal and headed the ball to the left of a stunned Miller with 20 seconds remaining on the first-half clock.
Hannah Alspach picked up her 13th assist of the season for Guyer when she cleared the ball back to Caro and the junior midfielder fired a 40-yarder that traveled directly from her foot over the leaping Miller and into the twine at the back of the net.