NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — When the Keller girls had chances they were unable to capitalize.
The Indians’ season came to a halt agaisnt Flower Mound Marcus, 2-0, in a girls Class 5A Region I semifinal Friday at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics complex.
The Indians started a bit slowly, and coach Billy Griffiths felt like the situation may have affected the team early on.
“The first 20 minutes of the game I think we felt a little overwhelmed,” he said. “It took us a few minutes to realize that we should be here, that we’re not here by mistake. Once we kind of figured that out, we played a lot closer with them.”
Keller was twice denied by the woodwork in the second half and had a goal in the first half disallowed. The Indians also gave up a goal just before halftime that dealt a big blow to the team’s psyche.
“I think that shut us down, to be honest,” senior Andrea Ferguson said. “Obviously, we didn’t want that and it shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”
Allie Harper had Keller’s best early chance. In the eighth minute, she sent a shot from about 25 yards out that curled left of the goal.
A minute later, though, Marcus (23-3-1) would net its first goal. Ashley Bishop’s throw-in bounced outside the Keller 18-yard box right to Courtney Forte, who smashed a left-footed blast into the upper right corner, leaving Indians keeper Kate Mason little chance.
Keller (19-6-3) appeared to have tied the game late in the first half. In the 37th minute, Anna Curby played a through ball that Amanda Stickney ran onto about 15 yards from the goal and pushed past charging Marcus keeper Meg Smith. However, Stickney was judged to have been offside.
A minute later, Marcus came close to doubling the lead with Forte again the threat. Attacking down the left side, Forte worked past a defender and into the penalty area. Mason came out to challenge and managed to cut down the angle and deflect Forte’s shot off her legs.
The Marauders were able to extend the lead just before halftime. With nine seconds remaining, Forte laid off a pass down the left side of the area for Katelyn Mountjoy, and she slotted home past Mason.
“That was a big blow,” Griffiths said. “That hurt bad to give away that goal that close to halftime. We felt like if we could get to halftime down just one, after we got through the early nerves, that we would play a better second half and we did.”
Keller nearly pulled one back in the 55th minute. Following up a stretch of solid offensive pressure, Stickney received a pass about 12 yards from goal and turned and hit a right-footed shot that struck the right goalpost.
The Indians again came close in the 63rd minute. Ferguson hit a no-look, right-footed shot from inside the right side of the area but it was right at Smith. Just seconds later, Maddie Charland played a deep ball over the top and Ferguson sent a one-touch chip shot over Smith, but the ball landed on the crossbar.
“They’re a very good team,” Ferguson said. “We had our chances and we didn’t capitalize on them ... It was an amazing season.”
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