HUMBLE – Choosing to go with the wind in the second half once again proved beneficial for the Friendswood Lady Mustang soccer team Saturday afternoon in the Region III-4A championship in Humble.
The Lady Mustangs are headed back to the state tournament for the eighth time in school history after Friendswood defeated the College Station Lady Cougars (22-4-0), who played in only their second varsity season, 2-0.
Even though College Station was playing with the wind in the first half, the Lady Mustangs held the Lady Cougars to only three shots and the defense was strong in preventing three corner kicks to materialize into any scoring opportunities.
Friendswood junior forward Taylor Rue had two solid looks late in the first half, but both shots sailed over the goal, with one glancing off the top goal post.
In the first 33 minutes of the second half, the Lady Mustangs (22-4-3) kept hammering away on shots with the wind in their favor to keep the Lady Cougars goalie busy.
However, Friendswood was unable to take advantage of six corner kicks and eight shots on goal, including a header by sophomore midfielder Megan Mai off a corner kick by senior midfielder Zoe Cole in the 38th minute, Zoe Cole’s shot from 36 yards out in the 28th minute, and another header — this time by senior forward Rachel Truong — that came from a deflection by the College Station goalie on a corner kick by senior forward Madi Fang in the 10th minute.
Persistence finally paid off for the Lady Mustangs with 5:40 left in the game. Sophomore midfielder Selina Vickery delivered a picture-perfect cross in the goalie box to a wide open junior midfielder Maret Moran who smoked the ball into the net to give the Lady Mustangs a 1-0 advantage.
Shortly after, Zoe Cole drilled a 42-yard free kick over the extended hands of the Lady Cougar goalie to give the Lady Mustangs more of a cushion, up 2-0.
The Lady Mustangs clamped down on defense in the final minutes of the game to secure the victory.
Friendswood sophomore goalkeeper Klaryssa Heussmann played a solid goal to earn the shutout.
Zoe Cole led the Lady Mustangs with five shots on goal.
The Lady Mustangs will be looking to add a second girls’ soccer state title to the Friendswood trophy case when they travel to Birkelbach Stadium in Georgetown on Friday to play in the 4A state semifinals at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Friday. The last time the Lady Mustangs advanced to the state tournament was in 2009 for the fourth consecutive year and won state in 2001.
The state pairings will be announced on Sunday.
The state championship game will be played on Saturday at 4 p.m.