Unbeaten Dallas Highland Park allowed just 10 goals all season, four in six playoff games. But Aledo scored right away and for a while gave the No. 1 team in the nation all it could handle.
The Scots scored four quick goals in the first half and added another in the second to beat the Bearcats 5-3 in the Class 5A girls state soccer final at Birkelbach Field on Saturday.
It’s Highland Park’s sixth girls soccer title, tying the Plano West girls and Plano boys for the most in state history. The Scots had lost in the Class 6A final the previous two years.
The teams set a UIL girls record for most combined goals in a state title game. It was Aledo’s first appearance at the state tournament and their three goals were the most allowed by Highland Park this season.
Aledo took a 1-0 lead just 66 seconds into the match. A Brooke Jones shot went off Highland Park goal keeper Ginny Hoy and Eden Wise got the deflection to go in for her fourth score of the season.
The Scots, ranked No. 1 in the country by Top Drawer Soccer, tied the game two minutes later when Frances Ann Matise headed in the ball in the box off a throw-in attempt. They would score two more goals in the next eight minutes off two deflections.
“That hurt early, giving up that goal to them that tied it up,” Aledo coach Bryan Johnson said. “I don’t think nerves had anything to do with this game. It was exciting and it was entertaining.”
Aledo goal keeper Makenzie Covington made saves on both tries, but Highland Park’s Rachel Wasserman and Presley Echols were able to find the net for a 3-1 lead at the 11th minute mark.
Highland Park (27-0) went up 4-1 when Sarah O’Neal got past the Aledo defense and angled home a shot past Covington in the 27th minute.
The Bearcats (22-4-3) cut the deficit in half when Kristen Burns took a free kick from the 30-yard line in the 31st minute. The ball took one bounce in the box and Arkansas Little Rock signee Peyton Laughley gently kicked it over Hoy for her 31st goal of the season, and third of the state tournament.
“Obviously coming in we knew they were ranked No. 1, they were undefeated so it was going to be the toughest game we were going to play all year long,” Laughley said. “That first goal was important for us. It was 4-2 at halftime and we just knew we had 40 minutes and that we had to give everything we had left.”
Echols, who was voted MVP, added her second goal and fourth of the tournament when her shot hit the top of the crossbar and bounced in during the 60th minute.
Cameron Huddleston, who is headed to Oklahoma State in the fall, scored from 26 yards out on a drive that bounced under a diving Hoy in the 68th minute for her 25th goal.
Highland Park had 20 shots, 15 on goal, and eight corner kicks. Aledo had 16, seven and two, respectively. Covington made 10 saves.