By Randy Jennings/Special Contributor
CARROLLTON — Highland Park’s lofty goal of a third straight trip to the UIL girls state soccer tournament was dashed by the narrowest of margins.
Wylie East defeated the Lady Scots in the Class 4A Region II title game, 1-0, on a windy Saturday afternoon at Standridge Stadium.
The only goal came in the 58th minute in fluke fashion when a clearance pass by a Highland Park defender ricocheted off a teammate and into the Lady Scots’ net.
The scoring chance began with a shot by the Lady Raiders’ Asia Revely that Highland Park keeper Mariay Molina came off her line to deflect. The ball scooted to Molina’s right, setting up the chain of events that led to the goal.
“If we had scored that goal to win one-nil, I’d say it was a great win,” Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said. “It depends on what side of the field you’re standing on. Sometimes a goal like that win games.”
In a scoreless first half, Highland Park (21-5-1) controlled possession and enjoyed an edge in scoring opportunities despite going into the wind. Those chances were reduced in the second half until a desperate flurry in the final 18 minutes.
“The defenses for both teams did well,” Brown said. “The wind was a huge factor. We had the feeling it would take something special to decide it.”
Hope Hyde, who came into the game with 15 goals in her last seven matches, led the late Highland Park assault along with Sara Summers. Brooke-Lynn Scroggins, keeper for Wylie East (23-1-1), made an alert save to stop perhaps the Lady Scots’ best chance, a low Summers drive from seven yards with three minutes remaining.
“Getting to state twice is an accomplishment,” Brown said. “So is making it to the regional final. I couldn’t be prouder of my team. They represent the school and the community so well.”