Trophy Club Nelson players had gone high with two previous shootout kicks Friday against Austin Vandegrift, grazing the top edge of the goal and scoring both times.
Nelson’s Allie Rivers fired low and right with the next attempt, but goalkeeper Mariah Lechner saved it.
Vandegrift converted the next kick to win the shootout 5-3 and claim the UIL Class 4A semifinal with a 2-1 victory.
The Vipers (18-3-2) advanced to the final against Wylie East at 4 p.m. Saturday at Birkelbach Field.
Nelson (22-3-5) came up short at state for the second time in three years.
“It’s always challenging going to a shootout,” said Nelson coach Philip Salyer, whose 2012 squad lost a title-game shootout to Highland Park. “One kick is going to decide it. It’s definitely heartbreaking.”
Nelson went up on Vandegrift 1-0 in the 46th minute when freshman Alexis Smith sneaked one past the left post. The ball didn’t reach the back of the net, but Smith was able to snake through defenders and put enough pace on it for an off-balance roller that crossed the goal line.
Vandegrift’s tying goal was made with similar emphasis. Savannah Cavannaugh made a run toward the goal before being met by Nelson keeper Bonnie Ruten, then dribbled a shot beyond the reach of a Nelson defender who nearly swooped in to save the score.
The biggest save of the game came in the 67th minute when Vandegrift defender Paige Welch cleared a shot at the goal from Ansley Bunger, who had an open look for Nelson.
Salyer said fatigue began to sit in as the game went into overtime.
“The intensity was high the whole game,” Salyer said. “Our legs were heavy. We had some people banged up. But they pushed through and I was definitely proud of their effort.”
• Wylie East 4, Friendswood 0: Valeree Morris, Addison McCain, Asia Revely and Morgan Cave scored first-half goals for East (24-1-1) in the other semifinal.
The Raiders, who are making their first appearance at state, got off eight shots on goal against Friendswood (22-5-3) and threatened to make it 7-0 by intermission.