This is officially another deep playoff run by the Grapevine girls soccer team. And this time, the team used an early goal and punished the opposition because of it.
When Grapevine scored within the first four minutes of its 3-0 Class 5A Region I area playoff victory over Burleson Centennial, this was the team head coach Steve McBride had seen all season long.
The Lady Mustangs (19-5-3) kept the pressure on the Lady Spartans this past Friday at Pennington Field. They had several well-designed plays that could have extended the lead to 2-0 or 3-0 had it not been for quality saves by the Centennial keeper. But this was a game where no doubts were left.
Grapevine advanced to the Region I quarterfinals where it met Wichita Falls on Tuesday at White Settlement Brewer. The game preceded the boys team, which also played Wichita Falls.
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Had Grapevine won, it would advance to the Region I tournament Friday in Wichita Falls. The winner would face the winner of Canyon Randall-El Paso Jefferson in the semifinals.
Remember, in the 3-1 bi-district victory over Saginaw Boswell, Grapevine scored first and played a very ragged style. It wasn’t until the second half where the Lady Dragons found their rhythm.
“It was just a high level of play for us,” McBride said. “We were very confident. This team put on a workmanlike performance. I thought we controlled the game. There were some positive strides. The intensity and the urgency were there.”
Wichita Falls presented a different challenge because it was a physical team that played more of a direct style. However, McBride said that he believed this was a good matchup both for his team and for Old High. It was going to be a matter of who could withstand the physical push.
No longer freshmen
Senior Jordan Slim scored the first goal Friday. Sophomore Sophia Smith then added the goal in the second half that pretty much put the game away. However, freshman Brianna Gajewski added the final piece with a goal later in the second half when a desperate Centennial team needed to make a push and try and get back into it.
This soccer season started in January. Now that it’s April, classifications mean nothing. Players have earned enough experience.
“Really, it’s been that way all year long,” McBride said. “Ashton Wright scored for us last week against Boswell. We also have another player in Rylee Hanna who has been pretty solid for us in the back of the field. We’ve just put them situations where you expect them to have success. They wouldn’t be here if they we didn’t think they could contribute. They’ve been ready for the challenge.”
This actually came on the fly during the second half against Centennial. In the second half, McBride moved Slim from midfield to forward. Smith then moved from forward to midfield and played behind Slim.
At no time had the Lady Mustangs featured this look. That includes practice. But McBride made the move because he understands the skill sets of his players.
“Jordan is like a point guard because she can penetrate, draw defenders and score,” he said. “Sophia is very multi-faceted. We’re very blessed with good players. They’re technically astute.”