WICHITA FALLS — Guyer coach Kenny Blevins was a little disappointed his team didn’t capitalize on more scoring opportunities in Friday’s Class 4A Region I semifinal against Canyon Randall.
But fortunately for the Lady Wildcats, they scored more than enough and rolled to a 3-0 win over Randall — holding the Lady Raiders without a single shot on goal and advancing to the regional final at 1:30 p.m. today
“Our defense is unbelievable,” Blevins said. “Peyton Bucklew, Megan Stokes, Tatianna Hernandez and Ashleigh Lyons stay very organized back there, and our defensive midfielder, Kaitlyn Caro, too. They keep the game in front of them and take care of each other back there.
“We were very lucky to get those goals. Their keeper is very good. This could’ve been a lot closer game. We had some chances we didn’t take care of.”
Guyer (25-1) outshot Randall, the team that ended its season in the 2010 regional final, 11-0 and got two goals from Hannah Alspach and another from Brittany Crabtree.
The Lady Wildcats move on to face District 11-4A rival Trophy Club Nelson (27-2-1) in today’s regional final. Guyer is the only team that has defeated Nelson this season, by scores of 4-1 and 2-1, on the Lady Wildcats’ undefeated run through district play.
Nelson likely will be without senior forward Lynnsey Brim, who scored one of the Lady Bobcats’ goals in Friday’s 2-1 semifinal win over Amarillo before leaving with a right ankle injury.
“It’s iffy,” Caro said about the idea of playing a team for a third time. “It’s a big rival, so it’ll be an aggressive, good game. I’m looking forward to it.
“We’re all nervous, but I know we can do it if we go do our best and just play as a team. If we play as a team, they can’t stop us.”
Guyer waited until about midway through the first half to get going offensively, but it did so in a big way.
In the 17th minute, Bucklew sent a long centering pass almost 40 yards as Crabtree was backing up toward the goal and approaching Randall keeper Alyssa Salvato. The lengthy Crabtree out-jumped Salvato and headed the ball backward into the empty net to give Guyer the lead with her 35th goal.
Less than three minutes later, the Wildcats struck again on a nicely executed give-and-go play in front of the Randall net. Alspach controlled a pass and flicked the ball to Crabtree, who sent a lobbing pass over a defender and onto a running Alspach’s feet inside the penalty box.
At close range and from an odd angle, Alspach fit the ball past the Randall keeper to give Guyer a 2-0 halftime advantage.
“It doesn’t get old,” Caro said. “I love watching them. They’re the greatest forwards I’ve ever played with. All you have to do is pass it to them and they’ll score, pretty much.”
Alspach added a second-half goal, her 22nd of the year, on a blast from 25 yards out with just more than 13 minutes to play.
In addition to Guyer’s defensive play, a big reason Randall (19-3-3) might have been held without a shot was the loss of leading scorer Lauren Piercy in the waning seconds of Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal win.
Blevins, who was at that game and saw the injury, said he expected to see Piercy on the field Friday and was surprised when he instead saw her on crutches prior to the game. She led the Lady Raiders with 24 goals this season.
“I fully expected her to play,” Blevins said. “I think it hurt them a lot. That’s part of the reason why it was tough for them to get to balls. She’s very crafty, fast and physical. It would’ve made a difference for them.”
Guyer is one win from advancing to its first state tournament. Blevins is fully expecting a tight game today, and his team might have to play from behind for only the second time this season.
“We’ve got to be patient, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re really up for us and we’ll be tested,” Blevins said. “We’ll have to see if we can play a tight game or maybe even come from behind. We’ll find out.”