The Haslet Eaton girls soccer team defeated Azle 7-0 at home on March 3 – clinching the school’s first-ever playoff berth.
Eaton (12-6, 10-4 in 6-5A) became the first athletics program to reach the postseason since the school opened in 2015. This is the first year that the school is competing at the UIL varsity level.
The Eagles start the playoffs against Wichita Falls, 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Mineral Wells High School
"We’re very excited, it’s pretty nice," head coach Stephen Morris said. "The school and coaches are pumped about it. People are excited and we hope to make it a tradition."
The Eagles, with no seniors on the team, lost to Saginaw Boswell 2-0 to start district play on Jan. 24, but the loss proved to be a turning point as they won their next five matches by a combined score of 34-0.
They would go on to beat Boswell in the second round of district 2-1, Chisholm Trail 1-0 and Saginaw 5-0. Eaton closed out the regular season on March 10 with a 2-1 win over Justin Northwest.
"It was an eye-opener and they adjusted very well," Morris said. "It was a physical game and after the Boswell game we realized we could play that way too, and from there the confidence level grew."
Last year, Morris scheduled teams around the Metroplex in an attempt to get his girls ready for the different level of competition this season – as well as the change of pace and intensity.
The goal coming into this year was fourth place and Morris said the team exceeded expectations. Eaton finished tied for second with Northwest, but an 18-17 goal differential put the Eagles into the third spot.
Morris starts four freshmen including Cloey Seltzer and Cassidy Savoy who both lead the team with 16 and 15 goals.
"With freshmen, there are always question marks. You’re talking about 13 and 14 year olds now playing 16, 17 and 18 year olds," Morris said. "There was a learning curve, but they’ve come along nicely and are both very skillful players."
One of the eight juniors on the team, goalie Maddie Rea has nine shutouts.
"The juniors and sophomores knew how much quicker high school was. They set the tone and are workhorses, and they know the meaning of hard works pays off," Morris said. "We’re comfortable with Maddie back there, she directs traffic. She gives us something going forward and acts like that 11th player on the field you want in a goalie."
Morris, a California native and in his second year with Eaton, is a head coach for the first time after spending two years at Mineral Wells and six years at Colleyville Heritage with one of the best coaches in the Metroplex, Misail Tsapos, who coached Flower Mound to the 6A state title last season.
Other new teams going to the playoffs this week include Fort Worth Benbrook boys and Castleberry boys and girls.