Girls soccer: Lady Wildcats take state

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Daniel Reese/Special Contributor
Senior Sara Finney (#17) celebrates the first goal of the game by the Denton Guyer Wildcats. Denton Guyer went on to win the game 2-1 Saturday, April 20 in the 4A Girls Soccer State Championship in Georgetown, TX.
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Guyer wins 4A final 2-1, stops Lady Scots’ streak

GEORGETOWN — The Guyer Lady Wildcats added more hardware to the school’s growing collection Saturday afternoon.

Guyer held off a late and frantic Highland Park attack for a 2-1 victory over the Lady Scots in the Class 4A state championship game at Birkelbach Field.

The win gave Guyer its first state championship in a girls team sport and snapped Highland Park’s unbeaten streak at 49 games. Guyer junior forward Hannah Alspach scored what ended up being the deciding goal and was named the MVP of the state final.

As the Lady Wildcats swarmed around the state championship trophy in the middle of the field, Guyer coach Kenny Blevins grinned as the game ball was tucked beneath his arm. Blevins and his team were able to survive the second half and come away with the win.

“That was the worst [36] minutes of my life right there,” Blevins said. “It was exciting. That’s what you want from a game. Highland Park wasn’t going to go down easy. They fought and fought and fought and fought. It was what I thought it was going to be.”

Guyer picked up the Denton school district’s third state soccer title. Denton won 4A titles in 2003 and 2004.

The Lady Scots (25-1-5) sent players up the field in the final minutes to try to send the game into overtime. But like it had all afternoon, Guyer defended well when necessary in the second half.

“We came out and knew they were going to come strong, and we just knew we had to battle back,” Guyer senior defender Megan Stokes said. “That first five minutes, we lost it there for a little while. But we came back and we had our mindset, and it was just crazy until the end.”

Stokes and the rest of Guyer’s defenders had the task of attempting to contain Villanova signee and Highland Park forward Katie Martin.

Martin scored her 40th goal of the season four minutes after halftime to chop Guyer’s lead in half and put the pressure back on.

“Oh my God,” Stokes said. “She’s an amazing player. Hats off to her. She’s really good. But our defense, we just battled strong until the final whistle blew.”

Guyer sophomore forward Brittany Crabtree and Alspach each scored a goal in the state final. They also each earned yellow cards in a very physical game.

Crabtree’s three goals in the state tournament gave her 40 for the season.

Crabtree and Alspach’s goals were Guyer’s only attempts on target Saturday.

“They make each other better,” Blevins said. “They thin out the other team’s defense so badly. It’s very difficult to contain them. I’m surprised we didn’t score a goal in the second half.”

Guyer (28-1) jumped ahead in the 14th minute when Crabtree won the ball away from Highland Park defender Caroline Gould and sent it into the left corner of the net.

Alspach doubled the lead in the 33rd minute when she streaked down the field and scored on a strike from about 25 yards out.

“We always try to get the first goal,” Blevins said. “I think that’s the most important goal of any game — the first goal. To get the goal and then to go up two, I mean, it was awesome. It was what we needed to happen.”

Head referee Ryan Poole allowed both teams to play a very physical style. Alspach and Crabtree were given yellow cards and Alspach nearly got sent off in the final minutes for a poor challenge. Alspach received a stern warning.

The junior committed as many fouls (six) as the entire Highland Park team.

Alspach said her team came out looking to play a physical game to keep Highland Park unsettled, a tactic she said was fairly effective.

“We had to stay aggressive so they could not be comfortable with us,” Alspach said.

Following the game, Alspach proudly clutched the MVP trophy as a state championship medal hung around her neck.

The history-making team posed for pictures as the Denton crowd that traveled to Georgetown roared while the team kissed its medals. The team’s vision at the beginning of the season had been actualized.

“I still can’t believe it,” Alspach said. “All my teammates were crying, and I can’t even get in my head what just happened. It’s amazing.”

 

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.


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