Keller Central scored twice in the opening 12 minutes on the way to a 3-1 victory over District 3-5A champion Arlington Martin in a Class 5A Region I bi-district match at Pennington Field on Friday.
“We have been planning for this game since the exact same date last year,” Central coach Lauren Arias said. “We lost to them in the first round last year. This is everything we’ve been working for. Our whole slogan for the playoffs was ‘same story, different ending,’ and we got it tonight.”
Central (14-8-1) was the better team in the first half. The Chargers’ first opportunity came six minutes in when Caitlin Davis found herself near the ball inside the Warriors’ 6-yard box, but her lunging effort rolled just wide left.
Central opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Bri Carruba received a pass inside the penalty area and then worked herself free for a shot that rolled under diving Martin keeper Madeline Wasden.
Less than two minutes later, the Chargers doubled their lead over Martin (17-5). This time Davis converted from in close. Carrington Elliott’s shot troubled Wasden, and Davis was there to poke home the rebound to make it 2-0.
“We knew we had to come out ready to go,” Arias said. “We had the wind, they had the sun in their eyes. Everything was just working for us. We told ourselves if we get a goal we’re going to go five hard minutes after, and that’s what we did.”
Martin’s best opportunity of the first half came in the 27th minute, when Lauren Sarrat’s shot forced a diving save from Central netminder Maddie Kramber.
It looked as though Martin might cut into the Central lead five minutes into the second half. Natalee Heiser’s shot beat Kramber, but Hope Smith managed to clear it off the goalline.
Heiser again threatened for Martin in the 64th minute. A defensive miscue allowed her to run onto a loose ball inside the Central area, but her shot from about 6 yards hit the inside of the right post and stayed out.
Central nailed the door shut on a set piece in the 70th minute. Kristina Schulz’s corner kick found Hannah Allred unmarked in the middle of the box and she headed firmly home to make it 3-0 Chargers.
Mary Moore scored late for the Warriors to make the final score 3-1.