SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS
GEORGETOWN — The Reagan girls soccer team could have felt jaded by the cruelty of the development.
For more than 79 minutes, the Rattlers didn’t back down against an opponent that one publication has ranked No. 1 in the nation. They didn’t flinch in the face of a heavy scoring barrage.
That resiliency carried Reagan for a long time during its Class 6A state semifinal game against Coppell on Friday. But it wasn’t enough to take the team to where it preferred — playing for a state championship.
Sarah Houchin scored during a goal-mouth scramble with 46 seconds left as Coppell defeated the Rattlers 1-0 at Birkelbach Field.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Reagan senior midfielder Sam Batley said. “Everybody wants to win. But I’m not going to say that goal ruined me. I’m proud of everyone. We played great, and they scored in the last 40 seconds. That’s that.”
Houchin’s tally came after Reagan (21-3-2) had twice cleared shots off the goal line following an initial corner kick by Coppell’s Emma Jett.
It was the lone blemish on a valiant defensive effort by the Rattlers’ backline of Sarah Grace Freeman, Lina Fernandez, Katie Labat and Kristi Gambuti, who fended off 12 corner kicks and numerous other dangerous moments inside the penalty area against Coppell (27-0-3).
Reagan sophomore goalkeeper Christa Morovitz recorded 13 saves, including a diving stop in the 69th minute that prevented a sure goal. The total was one shy of the 6A state-tournament record set by Clark’s Shira Leffel against Plano West in 2001.
“Of course, it would’ve been great if they hadn’t scored, but I’m going to remember the whole season,” Freeman said. “I’m not going just remember the one goal that got in on the very last game. It may seem bigger to other people because it was the last game, but it’s just another goal. We played our hearts out. We stopped a whole lot more goals than we let in.”
Reagan’s defensive prowess was prevalent throughout, and it became even more important on a day in which the Rattlers had few scoring chances.
“I think every single person gave everything they had,” Reagan senior midfielder Nicole Galan said. “There’s no looking down on ourselves. We did everything that we could.
“Everyone came ready — there was no doubt across the team. It was a close game, we were back and forth the whole game, and they were able to sneak one by us. We just ran out of time.”
Reagan coach Frankie Whitlock concurred.
“It was a battle of two top teams in the state of Texas,” Whitlock said. “I think my kids rose to the occasion and said, ‘Hey, we’re here to try and win this thing.’”
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Girls soccer 6A semifinals; Dramatic last-minute goal lifts Coppell
By SEAN SHAPIRO Follow @SportsDayHS
Published: 17 April 2015 12:02 PM
Updated: 17 April 2015 12:02 PM
Coppell 1, San Antonio Reagan 0
GEORGETOWN – Coppell finally broke through San Antonio Reagan’s bunker defense with 46 seconds remaining in a 1-0 Class 6A semifinal victory at Birkelbach Field.
Sophomore Sarah Houchin was able to track down the second rebound after Emma Jett’s initial corner kick. The chance was cleared twice off the goal line, but eventually Houchin powered a shot into the back of the net.
The top-ranked Cowgirls (27-0-3) fired 14 shots on goal and had 12 corner kicks in the first 79 minutes before they finally broke through. Reagan (21-3-2) goalie Christa Morovitz finished with 13 saves, one short of the Class 6A record.
“I talked to their coach before the game and she challenged her girls to make a miracle effort, and they did,” Coppell coach Chris Stricker said. “Give my girls a lot of credit for battling because a lot of times when you’re not scoring, it’s frustrating and easy to turn on each other.”
There were several frustrating moments
Even when fighting the wind in the first half, Coppell held the ball within 30 yards of Reagan’s goal for most of the 40-minute stanza.
Coppell had the wind at it’s back in the second half and spent even more time in Reagan’s end, and the frustrations could have mounted.
Three minutes into the second half Coppell seemingly scored on a corner kick, but the goal was called back after it was ruled offside. Six minutes later there was a scrum in the box that hit three Reagan players on the goal line and somehow stayed out of the net.
Then with 8:24 remaining senior defender Grace Vowell finally beat Morovitz, but it clanged off the corner where the post and cross bar meet.
“It’s hard to change how you’re playing when you’re getting that many chances,” Stricker said. “We said at halftime, ‘Let’s keep getting corner kicks and eventually one of our athletes will make a play.’ That’s what happened.”