Written by Corbett Smith
Winning goal is familiar for Colleyville Heritage girls
GEORGETOWN, Texas — It was a carbon copy of the goal that took the Colleyville Heritage girls soccer team to state: a counter-attacking through ball, past two defenders, from Britt Blackwell to Brooke Merchant, who beat the keeper on a shot from 25 yards out.
That described the lone goal against Midland in the regional final, and did again Friday in Colleyville Heritage’s 1-0 win over Houston Clear Lake in a Class 5A state semifinal.
“It was the exact same goal, except this time, the keeper ran out on me quicker than the other one,” Merchant said.
Heritage, which won the 4A state title in 1999, will play last year’s runner-up, McKinney Boyd, in Saturday’s 4 p.m. title game.
With 5:39 remaining in the first half, Merchant broke into the clear, calmly took Blackwell’s pass and bent it around Clear Lake goalkeeper Brooke Bourbonais, with the ball bounding slowly into the goal mouth. It was against the run of play, and appeared to be offside.
Clear Lake — in its third trip to state in four years, after back-to-back semifinal appearances in 2008 and 2009 — dominated possession for most of the first half, pinning Heritage back within 30 yards of its own goal for most of the period.
But that didn’t bother Heritage coach Misail Tsapos. Tsapos pointed out that Clear Lake never got behind his defense, until a few defensive miscues late in the game, in large part because of his team’s defensive organization and the play of star goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine, a North Texas signee.
“We can possess it, but for the most part, we strive and work on not giving up goals,” Tsapos said.
Clear Lake had seven corner kicks, five in the first half, a challenge for Kerestine each time the ball went up into the swirling, stiff north wind.
“It was scary,” Kerestine said. “Because it just takes anything, any little nick, any missed touch, and it could go in my goal.”
With 10 minutes to go in the game, Kerestine made her biggest save, batting away a header by Shelbi Lamar that was on goal. It was Kerestine’s 19th straight shutout.
“We are an amazing team, both skillfully and in togetherness,” Kerestine said.