Kilgore Girls Reach Regional Tournament With 2-1 Win Against Mabank
TYLER -- You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
Kilgore's huge advantage in shooting attempts translated into a 2-1 victory against Mabank in the Class 4A Region II quarterfinals Tuesday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler. With the win, the Lady Bulldogs advanced to the regional tournament later this week at Rose Stadium.
"This is the first time ever that Kilgore has gone," head coach Heidi Hagan-McPeak said in reference to the school's girls program. "We are so excited. So pumped. They've been working so hard all year and I just feel like they gel as a team and get along really well. We're real excited for them."
The Lady Bulldogs (18-5-1) handed Mabank (17-2-4) its very first defeat against Class 4A competition all season in come-from-behind fashion. Mabank had only lost to Pine Tree from the Class 5A level prior to the regional quarterfinal playoff game.
Kilgore gave up the opening goal at the 28:31 mark of the first half. Heidi Foster, a striker, found some open space while recovering a dump off pass from midfield and scored from pointblank range.
Mabank's goal was the high point of dominating the first 20 minutes of possession.
Foster's tally easily could have given the team a 2-0 lead. Lady Bulldogs sweeper Jade Norris saved an earlier goal with a block at the goal line on a rebound attempt.
Things changed midway through the first half. Kilgore went from two shots on goal to six on the backside of the frame, scoring twice. Mabank didn't threaten again in the period and only added one shot on goal in the second half.
Daria Rossum hit the top left side of Mabank's net for the equalizer 12 minutes after Kilgore gave up the lead. Eight minutes later, Leslie Bennett knocked in a two-hopper from 28 yards for the go-ahead goal.
"I think our nerves were getting the best of us," Hagan-McPeak said. "We had a few changes we had to adjust to at the beginning of the game. I think we just had to settle down, start working together and once they figured out, 'Hey, we're OK,' then we just started to play our game. That's what we were trying to tell them from the get-go."
Kilgore put another six shots on net in the second half for an overall advantage of 12-3 in the game. Factoring in total shot attempts, the Lady Bulldogs finished with a 20-5 margin.
Mabank narrowly missed a slow-rolling equalizer wide right inside the game's final five minutes and enjoyed two corner kick opportunities afterward. Both corners were cleared by Kilgore's defense.
Nevada Community defeated Crandall 6-2 elsewhere Tuesday to become the Lady Bulldogs' next opponent. The two teams will meet at 4 p.m. Friday inside Rose Stadium in the regional semifinal round with the winner of that game moving on to the regional championship game Saturday in Tyler.
Athens and Paris will play in the other regional semifinal game, a 6:30 p.m. kick Friday at Rose Stadium.
Saturday's winner will represent Region II in the four-team state tournament's semifinal round next week. The tournament will be played in Georgetown.
"I'm so proud of the team," Hagan-McPeak said. "They worked together and did the best they could. Mabank is a very good team. Very physical. They're a strong team, and we knew that coming in. We just said, 'Give it all you've got and leave it out there.' I was proud of the girls because that's what they did."