The best Aledo soccer season in years continued as both teams advanced to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs with victories Friday.
The Ladycats blasted Richland 7-0 in a match played at Northwest High School. Meanwhile, the Bearcats went to a shootout before outlasting Fort Worth Arlington Heights 2-1.
With the victory, the Ladycats (19-3-3) are in the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Bearcats (18-4-1) are in the third round for the first time since 2011.
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Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie as Daniel de la Cerda scored for the Bearcats. In the shootout, Max Owens, Alvaro Huerta Martin and Noah Hill each scored.
Aledo goalkeeper Caleb Hill stopped three shots by Heights (19-6) in the shootout.
The win avenged a 4-0 loss to Heights earlier in the season.
"I'm just thrilled. So excited that all of the seniors' hard work paid off with a hard-fought win," Aledo coach Derek Vierling said. "It was a huge turnaround.
"Reed Vierling, Tanner VanCuren, Jarrod Nelson and Zach Russell played awesome. Mickey Maloney had his best game of the year. "District champs and third round for both teams!"
Both Aledo teams won District 6-5A this season.
The Bearcats advanced to face Wichita Falls in the regional quarterfinals Monday or Tuesday (April 3 or 4, still being determined at press time). The winner advances to this weekend's Region I Tournament in Wichita Falls.
The Bearcats last reached the regional tournament in 2005, when they went on to reach the state finals.
The Ladycats got three goals and three assists from Cameron Huddleston as they made short work of the Lady Rebels (14-10-3). Also, Peyton Laughley had two goals and an assist.
In goal, Mackenzie Covington got the shutout, the 14th of the season for Aledo, which has outscored its opponents 72-18.
"We had nine shots and scored seven goals, pretty good day," Ladycats coach Bryan Johnson said. "Excited to continue season.
"I love the playoffs and the atmosphere and the one game at a time thing. It makes for very exciting drama."
The Ladycats moved on to meet Denton (19-1-2) in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday (April 4), with the winner advancing to this weekend's Region I Tournament in Wichita Falls.
The Ladycats last reached the regional tournament in 2008, when they advanced to the regional finals for their deepest playoff penetration in program history.
ALEDO 2, FW ARLINGTON HEIGHTS 1 (SHOOTOUT)
Aledo regulation goal: Daniel de la Cerda.
Aledo shootout goals: Max Owens, Alvaro Huerta Martin, Noah Hill.
Aledo goalkeeper: Caleb Hill.
Records: Aledo 18-4-1. Arlington Heights 19-6.
ALEDO 7, RICHLAND 0
Aledo goals: Cameron Huddleston 3, Peyton Laughley 2, Krista Thrasher, Brooke Jones.
Aledo assists: Huddleston 3, Thrasher 2, Laughley, Jones.
Aledo goalkeeper: Mackenzie Covington.
Records: Aledo 19-3-3. Richland 14-10-3.