NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Southlake Carroll scored twice in the first 14 minutes and hung on to beat Hebron 2-1 on Friday at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex, advancing the Dragons to the girls 5A Region I final on Saturday.
“After the second goal we played pretty well for about five minutes, then after that, Hebron really turned it on,” Dragons coach Matt Colvin said.
But it wasn’t enough for the Hawks (17-4-3) to overturn the early deficit.
It was an entertaining first half hour, with all the scoring for the game coming inside of 24 minutes. The Dragons (27-2-0) opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Julia Dyche played a corner from the left side deep to the right side of the 6-yard box, where Grace Cory climbed higher than her marker to head the ball into the top right of the net.
Just two minutes later, that duo combined again to double Carroll’s lead. Cory dribbled into the deep right side of the Hebron area before playing the ball across in front of goal. The ball eventually found the feet of Dyche, who fired from a tight angle off Hebron keeper Molly Lansford into the goal.
Hebron was almost right back in it in the 17th minute. Off to the right side of goal, Reid Sibley sent a free kick glancing off the crossbar from about 22 yards.
“We knew when we got the second goal the game wasn’t over,” Colvin said.
The Hawks had another scoring chance in the 21st minute. Carroll keeper Victoria Stephens fumbled a cross from the right side, but Ellen Starnes couldn’t poke the ball on target and it dribbled just wide left.
The Hawks did finally pull one back in the 23rd minute, as this time Sibley made her free kick count. Again from the far right side, about 20 yards, she sent an arching ball that dipped just over the outstretched arms of Stephens and into the top left corner of the goal.
Carroll nearly extended its lead again in the early stages of the second half. Just two minutes in, Cory made a long run down the left side of the field, cut back inside the Hawks area and unleashed a bending shot that flew just over the crossbar.
There were nervous moments for Carroll in the 66th minute. A dangerous cross into the area forced Stephens to make a play for the ball. She couldn’t quite possess it, and Starnes was lurking, but she couldn’t get a shot off and Stephens was eventually able to cradle the ball.
After a physical game, the Dragons must turn around in less than 24 hours and play at noon Saturday.
“We’ll head back to Dragon Stadium, take an ice bath and get ready for tomorrow,” Colvin said.
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