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Southlake Carroll girls win state soccer crown

ROUND ROCK -- The Southlake Carroll Lady Dragons screamed, cried and finally planted slobbery kisses on the girls state soccer championship trophy.

Carroll played nearly flawless soccer to earn a 2-1 victory against Plano East in the UIL Class 5A state title match at Round Rock ISD Stadium on Saturday.

A pair of goals from defender Leslie Shurtleff, team-wide defending, steady goalkeeping and the organization of sweeper Lani Huntley led Carroll to hoist, then smooch the UIL championship trophy.

"It's crazy. I never thought I’d feel this way," Huntley, a senior captain said. "I've never cried from really being happy before, but I just started bawling."

Carroll (24-4-4) dominated play throughout the match to take a 2-0 lead before Plano East made things interesting with a late goal.

The Lady Dragons outworked Plano East (24-4-3) by getting to the majority of the loose balls and executed the tactics with dedicated discipline.

Shurtleff, who was named the tournament MVP, opened the scoring in the 17th minute. She drove a strike from 25 yards out that caught a fortuitous deflection as the Plano East goalkeeper was already moving the opposite direction.

"I'm just so happy right now," Shurtleff said. "We did it as a team and we worked so hard to get to this point and we're just so happy right now."

Shurtleff added her second goal against a strong headwind in the second half. She launched a restart from 40 yards out that found the far upper corner with 24:42 left in the match.

Carroll's vaunted defense displayed the toughness and man-marking ability that has earned the backline the reputation as one of the state's best.

Plano East utilized a three-forward scheme in hopes of putting pressure on Carroll's defense. However, the Lady Dragons were quicker to the ball and the lack of movement from Plano East simplified Carroll's job.

Plano East scored its goal off a restart with 19:07 when a direct kick found the far side netting.

The Lady Panthers pressed heavily the final five minutes and had one shot strike the crossbar and a final shot smothered by goalkeeper Caitlin Schneider exactly as the final horn blew.

"I thought we had the better of play throughout the game," Carroll coach Matt Colvin said. "They're a very direct team and we did some good things. They put a lot of pressure on us in the end but our defense and our goalkeeper did an unbelievable job."

BOX SCORE

GIRLS SOCCER

CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Southlake Carroll 2, Plano East 1

Southlake Carroll: Leslie Shurtleff (Nikki Crocco), Shurtleff (unassisted). Plano East: Carolyn Polcari (unassisted).

Southlake Carroll: 24-4-4. Plano East: 24-4-3

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