A Banner Year for Dallas Private School Girls Soccer

Ursuline, Hockaday, Covenant teams claim championships

Ursuline and Covenant headed into their respective championship games at the TAPPS girls soccer tournament with revenge on their minds and a trophy as their ultimate goal.

Both programs regained top spots in grand fashion on March 3 in Round Rock. The Bears used a four-goal second half to hammer Plano John Paul II 5-1 in the Division I title game, while the Knights were in control from start to finish during a 4-1 victory over Schertz John Paul II. 

“I love it for our group of nine seniors,” Ursuline Academy coach Darrin Hedges said. “They’ve really worked hard in their careers, and most of them have been with it all four years. And as a whole, we really came out and played well.”

Madison Riley scored midway through the first half to put Ursuline on the scoreboard. The Cardinals tied the game on a header off a corner kick just before halftime.

The Bears dominated the second half, taking advantage of the wide field, ruling possession, and creating numerous scoring chances. 

They got a break when a corner kick bounced off a JPII player into the goal shortly after halftime. Then Audrey Bryant’s two goals sandwiched a long-range strike from Madeline Tiffany as Ursuline built its four-goal lead.

Ursuline Soccer

Quetzabel Garza, Isabella Zanoni, Bryant, and Riley were named to the all-tournament team for the Bears (21-6), who avenged last year’s semifinal loss to the Cardinals.

Ursuline outlasted Parish Episcopal in penalty kicks in the semifinals after a scoreless draw through regulation and two overtime periods.

Swann, Covenant return to top

After beating JPII in 2021 and losing last year, The Covenant School emphatically took the rubber match between the perennial Division III powers. Baylor signee Kaitlin Swann had two goals, and Naomi Daniels and Presley Pinkston also scored for the Knights.

“The seniors are the rock of our team,” Covenant coach Pete Fitzsimmons said. “Last year, they fell short against the same team, and this year our mentality was to believe, have faith, and this year to finish it. And for our girls to do that really says a lot about our team.” 

Daniels’ one-touch off a corner kick midway through the first half gave Covenant its lead, then Pinkston finished a breakaway early in the second half. Swann put away a shot after tracking down a through-ball a short time later to give the Knights a three-goal cushion.

Madeline Seebeck had JPII’s goal midway through the second half, but Swann answered with her second goal less than a minute later on a shot from more than 20 yards out.

Daniels, Swann, Amiya Brown, and Chloe Fox were named to the all-tournament team for the Knights (17-4). 

“It was a good comeback year,” Daniels said. “For the seniors’ last dance, it was great to win that final game for our school.”

Hockaday makes it three straight

With a four-year streak of soccer dominance hanging in the balance, Hockaday rallied to send its decorated senior class off in style.

Behind two goals from Ayla Sumer, including the game-winner in the closing minutes, the Daisies surged past Houston St. John’s 2-1 on Feb. 11 in the SPC 4A championship game.

The Hockaday School earned its third consecutive conference crown, not counting the season when the SPC tournament was canceled in 2021. All three victories have come against St. John’s, and all by margins of a single goal.

“It’s much harder when the pressure is on you, and you go in as the favorite. It’s so easy to get complacent and take it for granted,” said Hockaday head coach Rodney Skaife. “When we got to the playoffs, and we were missing people with injuries, it kind of galvanized us.”

After St. John’s topped Hockaday in the SPC championship game in 2019, the Daisies haven’t lost to a conference opponent. That streak began when Sumer and her fellow seniors were freshmen.

Covenant Soccer

“We have so many people who are open to filling so many different roles on the team,” Sumer said. “It’s an amazing senior class. We knew it was our last game together. I really love playing with all of them.”

This season, Hockaday (15-1-1) was unbeaten following a season-opening defeat against Ursuline. Along the way, the Daisies defeated public-school powerhouse Highland Park and were rarely tested in league play.

As a defender, Sumer is not one of the team’s top scorers, but her performance reflects the team’s unselfish and often unpredictable offensive approach.

“They don’t care who scores. They just really want to win,” Skaife said. “Your left back never scores two goals. She stayed calm, and that’s what we wanted.”

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