Trophy Club Nelson dictated the first half of Friday’s Class 4A Region I semifinal against Lubbock Monterey at Memorial Stadium, but the Bobcats nearly didn’t have anything to show for it.
That was until senior Madison Hall beat three Monterey players and drilled a low shot at the top of the 18-yard box into the net in the 36th minute. The Bobcats struck again early in the second half and cruised to their third consecutive regional final with a 4-0 victory against the Plainsmen.
“Ending that with a goal hyped us up for the second half to score more,” said Hall, who leads the team with 28 goals. “Once we score, we tend to come out harder. We don’t back off.”
Nelson (21-2-5) advances to Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional final and will face Fort Worth Arlington Heights (18-2), which blanked Canyon Randall 2-0 in the other semifinal.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Nelson freshman Olenka Soko converted Allie Rivers’ cross, doubling the Bobcats’ advantage to 2-0.
The Bobcats ended Monterey’s best season in program history by scoring twice in the final four minutes. The Plainsmen finished 23-6-4.
Hannah Boyd beat Monterey keeper Ashley Hemphill on a breakaway and then served a corner kick that Ann Odom headed into the goal with seven seconds remaining.
“We talked about getting on them early because this team’s not going to give up unless we put more goals in,” Nelson coach Philip Salyer said. “Just because Lubbock was so attacking-minded. I was very pleased with our back line as well.”
Nelson is 1-1 in its two previous regional finals, knocking off Birdville 2-1 in 2012 and falling to eventual state champion Denton Guyer 3-0 last season.