Jasper Girls Pass Salado In Overtime For State Championship Game Berth
GEORGETOWN -- Sometimes it just takes a little luck to get where you're hoping to go.
A tricky shot off the foot of Kaitlin Campos and a slight misplay by Salado's goalkeeper gave Jasper a 1-0 overtime victory in Wednesday's Class 4A state semifinal game at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown.
"They are determined, determined, to go home with a state title," Lady Dawgs coach Gabriela Carter said. "I'm proud of them. They gave it all they had, and that's all I can ask from them. They gave 120 percent right down to the last second. They fought for it."
The idea Jasper could reach today's 2:30 p.m. state title game against Kennedale, the defending state champions, seemed far fetched through the semifinal game's first 16 minutes. Salado (26-2) missed three good looks in the timespan and dominated possession.
Jasper (22-3-1), which has no seniors, kept at it though and picked up a little momentum before the final whistle of a scoreless first half.
The Lady Dawgs -- who have only allowed one of 15 goals against all year in the playoffs -- were back in form for the entirety of the second half. But Salado was a team that only gave up 10 goals through its first 27 matches.
Carter's club couldn't break the Salado defense through regulation. At the same time, the Lady Dawgs fully adjusted to the opposing attack.
One offensive breakthrough was going to be all the winning squad needed.
Campos, a junior midfielder, pushed Jasper's offense to the corner of Salado's goal crease midway through the first of two 10-minute, non-sudden death overtime periods. Without the real estate to move closer in, she put a two-hop shot on the keeper.
Salado's keeper got her hands on the ball, but the spin on it kept it rolling. The ball ultimately rolled out and into the goal.
"In my mind and in my heart, I was confident," Campos said. "I just hit the shot."
Jasper staved off a final scoring opportunity from Salado in the first overtime period. It never gave up an opportunity in the final 10-minute half of extra time and sealed its best postseason advancement in school history.
Goalkeeper Yvette Carter made three saves for the win in net.
The Lady Dawgs reached the semifinals last year before Princeton knocked them out. Princeton lost to Kennedale in turn.
Kennedale reached this season's state championship game a few hours later with a 6-0 win against Kilgore. That side has averaged a 6-goal win in each of its first six playoff games.
"I am so proud of my girls," Gabriela Carter said. "After losing our seniors and our leadership last year, it was really kind of coming back and finding our groove again. They led us here. I told them, 'Hey, we've just got to find our way back. They laid the gravel. We've got to come back this year to honor them and other Lady Dawgs that have comne through the program to lay the pavement.'"