FRIENDSWOOD – If you’re thinking there was a moment in the Lady Mustangs’ playoff run that convinced coach Laura Peter her team was special, think again.
“I knew it in August,” Peter said as her team (22-4-3) prepares to face Wylie East in the Class 4A girls soccer state semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday. “We didn’t lose much from last season, and I knew that if we stayed healthy, we had a very good chance to be here.”
“Here” is the program’s eighth trip to the Final Four, the sixth under Peter. While the school has been consistently solid in almost of all of its sports, the girls soccer program has become perhaps the athletic department’s gold standard when it comes to reaching the holy grail of success.
With that comes the support of the community — support that slowly begins in the chill of early season matches and tournaments, eventually reaching the crescendo that is the caravan that will make the late Thursday/early Friday drive to Georgetown, banners and painted vehicles noting their presence.
“This time of year makes it fun to see how our following is growing,” Peter said. “We’ve seen how much support has been out there each time out during the playoffs.”
Peter’s faith in her team became more solidified during a late January tournament in Bryan, where the Lady Mustangs gained a 3-1 victory against a College Station team that had dominated them in previous meetings.
“We played brilliantly against them,” Peter said. “I was nearly in tears by how well we executed against them.”
In Wylie East, the Lady Mustangs know they have to prepare for a team that runs a 4-4-2 set and is strong in the middle of the field, along with having a stout defense that is anchored by the play of goalie Brook-Lynn Scroggins.
Wylie East (22-1-1) is making its first appearance in the state semifinals, having defeated the state’s second-ranked 4A team, Highland Park, 1-0, on Saturday. It also ranks as the first state semifinal trip for the school that is less than 5 years old.
Peter is aware her team will have to snap a trend of missed opportunities in the first half, especially against a goalie the caliber of Scroggins.
“We know we have to make the most of our chances against them,” Peter said. “We work on improving our scoring potential in practice every day. They want to score goals early; it’s not like we’re choosing to wait until the last moments to do so.”
The team will be leaving for Georgetown at 3:15 p.m. today, with a communitywide send-off in front of Friendswood High School.
WHAT: 2014 state soccer tournament, 4A Semifinals, Wylie East (23-1-1) vs. Friendswood (22-4-3)
WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday
WHERE: Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex, 2275 N. Austin Ave., in Georgetown
WHAT: The Friendswood community is invited to help send the team off to Georgetown
WHEN: 3:15 p.m. today
WHERE: In front of Friendswood High School, 702 Greenbriar Drive, in Friendswood