The Marcus girls soccer team entered last Saturday’s regional final appearance against Southlake Carroll understanding exactly what they were up against.
Facing the top-ranked team in the state at 29-0 and the defending state champions, with a trip to the state tournament on the line, as well as the opportunity to avenge a loss to the Lady Dragons in last year’s regional finals, the stakes could not have been higher.
Marcus answered the call.
The Lady Marauders punched their ticket to the state tournament with a 1-0 victory over Carroll, and coach Erin Hebert said she could not have asked for a better performance from her players.
“I’m so proud of our team for the relentless effort they gave on Saturday against Southlake Carroll,” Hebert said. “We knew how intense and competitive that match was going to be, and the girls showed up ready to work. We talked a lot last week about keeping our composure and being patient on the ball in these games, especially when emotions are running high, and the stakes are even higher.”
“We had some great offensive opportunities in the first half, but couldn’t find the back of the net. However, we carried our momentum into the second half and my forwards did a fantastic job getting the ball into Carroll’s defensive third and applying heavy pressure early on to cause the goal.”
One of those forwards was freshman Madi Patterson, whom Hebert said has “incredible speed up top,” and was a key to the victory for the Lady Marauders.
“She shot the ball between the keeper’s legs and applied intense pressure following her shot that resulted in the game-winning goal,” Hebert said.
The Marcus coach said she had a few other strong performances, including senior defender Caroline Castans, who “made two stellar defensive saves to keep Southlake from scoring and shut down Southlake’s attack,” junior goalkeeper Bry Russell, who made “outstanding saves throughout the game,” and made her third appearance as the starting keeper in the regional final match.
Hebert added that senior defender Chloe Adams “brought the energy and hype that got the team mentally prepared,” and “pumped the team up to come out strong in the second half,” and that senior midfielder Carys Torgesen “took control of the midfield and took time and space away from Carroll’s attacking midfielders.”
The Marcus coach said that her “midfielders worked hard to maintain possession of the ball, and our defenders and goalkeeper took care of business and protected our goal with all they had,” which proved to be too much for Carroll’s offensive attack.
“The game lived up to the hype,” Hebert said. “And we didn’t let up until the final whistle blew. As they’ve done all season, the girls worked as a team, played for each other, and have earned every bit of this ticket to the state tournament. I can’t put into words how proud I am to be their coach. This is a special group. We’re a family. I’m so excited for this weekend in Georgetown at state with them.”
Hebert said that avenging the loss to the Lady Dragon from last season was thrilling for her program, it is in the past, and now their focus is on state
“This win was huge for our girls after losing to Southlake in the regional final last year,” Hebert said. “At the start of our season, we set our eyes on advancing to state this year after overcoming adversity and our last two seasons being cut short at the regional finals. As exciting as the win over Southlake was, it’s over now, and we have work to do to prepare for the state tournament this weekend.
“The final four teams all want to go home with the gold, and we’ll be seeing the strongest teams from the other regions across the state. We’ve got to keep our focus and play our game.”
The Lady Marauders will face Round Rock Westwood at noon on Friday, April 14, at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, and Hebert said her team will have its hands full.
“We are expecting a competitive match against Westwood in the semifinal on Friday,” Hebert said. “They are a good team. They have a strong back line and keeper which has caused them to shut out a few teams in their playoff run this year. But I think our tough district and postseason schedules have prepared us for the state tournament.”