ROUND ROCK — For an Ursuline soccer program that claimed its 28th state championship on Friday, there’s only ever been one Kylie Dobbs.
The senior forward entered the TAPPS Division I state title game needing just one goal to reach 100 for her career. She scored four, and the Bears dismantled defending state champion Houston St. Agnes 5-0.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Dobbs said. “When that 100th goal went in I told my teammates that nothing matters if we don’t win this game, so the fact that we put it away and we’re here now feels so good, especially to bring it back home to our school.”
Dobbs made it 1-0 in the 20th minute, and the score remained that way until after halftime. The striker showed her determination on each of her three second-half goals, winning physical battles in the penalty area to close out the victory.
“I wanted it so bad,” Dobbs said. “I just wanted to bury it and not even give them a chance.”
Senior forward Whitney Dodson put the icing on the cake with a goal in the final minute. The Bears (22-1) last won the crown in 2018, but had not made the title game since then.
“It’s been great to get it back and finally get here again, and earn it back for all the girls before us who didn’t have this the past couple of years,” senior goalkeeper Kylie Koeijmans said. “We finally came together as a team and got our program back to where we know it should be.”
The title was the program’s first under second-year head coach Darrin Hedges.
“I hope it’s just the start of another long run,” he said. “But again, all the other teams [in TAPPS] are just getting so much better. It’s tougher and tougher every single year. We got knocked out in the semifinals last year, so we had a little bit of revenge factor going in and we used that to motivate us through this whole offseason, preseason and through this season.”
Ursuline also had to face an obstacle none of the other 27 champions did in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Hedges credited the school’s administration with putting in safety protocols, including mask mandates, and lauded his players forgoing functions such as dances, parties and other social gatherings to limit the risk of spreading the virus among the team. He said all 24 players remained healthy throughout the season, which allowed the Bears to play a full schedule.
That made it possible for Dobbs to become the first player in program history to top the century mark with a finally tally of 103 goals. She ended her senior season with 49.
The Bears concluded the season on a 12-game winning streak, and finished unbeaten against private-school competition. They outscored their four playoff opponents by a score of 21-1. Ursuline’s only loss all season came to UIL Class 6A powerhouse Flower Mound, in a 2-1 match that came down to the end.
“I’ll play anybody with this team,” Hedges said.
Chris Bils is a co-founder and senior writer for The Striker Texas.