BEDFORD — Keller scored in the opening seconds and its defense never let the Arlington Martin girls back in the game as the Indians shut down the Warriors in a 2-0 Class 5A regional quarterfinal victory Tuesday at Pennington Field.
Keller (19-5-3) will face Flower Mound Marcus in a Region I semifinal at 2 p.m. Friday at Scharbauer Sports Complex in Midland.
The Indians came charging out of the gate. From the opening kickoff, Allie Harper was released down the left side and played in a dangerous cross. Martin keeper Kaitlyn Wells attempted to punch it away but failed to connect solidly. However, the Indians were unable to poke the ball home.
Less than a minute later, Keller cashed in. Harper delivered a low, hard corner from the right side, and it caromed off the mass of bodies in front of goal before landing in the near side of the net to give Keller a 1-0 lead.
“That was really important for us,” Harper said of the early goal. “It gave us drive because sometimes when we don’t score at first it gets hard for us because we get down ourselves. Getting that first goal was really important.”
Martin (17-9-1) nearly equalized in the 9th minute, as Lauren Prater volleyed a looping shot from about 25 yards out that Indians keeper Kate Mason was able to push just over the crossbar.
Keller extended its lead in the 33rd minute. Andrea Ferguson and Wells arrived about the same time to a ball just inside the 18-yard box. The two collided, and Wells was unable to collect the ball. With both on the ground, Brooke Butzer was first to arrive and calmly fired the ball into the upper portion of the goal.
The Indians also started the second half strong. In the 44th minute Ferguson fired from about 20 yards out, but her shot hit the underside of the crossbar and stayed out.
Neither team was able to control much of the run of play in a second half that turned physical and testy at times. The Indians kept numbers back in defense and largely neutralized Martin’s counterattacking threat.
“They counterattack so fast and they’re good at it,” Keller coach Billy Griffiths said. “They get out of the back so fast.”
Griffiths hopes his large senior class and experience will benefit the team in the regional tournament.
“We have 15 seniors and they’ve been carrying us all year long,” Griffiths said. “They’ve been together four years, so hopefully they can learn from all that experience.”
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.
Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?