Written by Corbett Smith
Persistence helps Wakeland girls advance to 4A state soccer final
Run and cross in 49th minute results in 1-0 semifinal win over Waco Midway
GEORGETOWN, Texas — Frisco Wakeland junior Katey Carmichael and teammate Maddie Lundberg made countless forays down the flanks in their Class 4A semifinal against Waco Midway. But until the 49th minute, they had nothing but fatigue to show for it.
“I felt like if I could get a long ball in, I could run onto it,” Carmichael said. “That’s my strength.”
With 30:25 remaining in the game, another long Carmichael run resulted in a cross to Ashley Kingston, with Kingston’s toe poke giving Wakeland the only goal it needed in a 1-0 win.
Wakeland, in its first trip to state, will play Cedar Park Vista Ridge at 11 a.m. Saturday for the 4A girls title.
Running onto a through-ball down the left side, Carmichael said she thought her cross could get on the head of Lundberg at the near post, but a strong south wind pushed the ball back ever so slightly. Instead, the ball narrowly found Kingston, who had run to the back post.
“It was close,” Kingston said. “I had to reach for it.”
After a first half where her team was clearly on the defensive, Wakeland’s coach Meagan Wilson, in her first year as a head coach, said she knew if Wakeland was to have a chance, it needed to be more aggressive.
Too many times in the first half, her players had been outmuscled, with Midway’s midfield — especially junior Aleah Davis — knocking them off the ball or beating them out for headers.
“I got into my kids at halftime about that,” Wilson said. “You don’t show up at a state tournament and let somebody smack you in the mouth.”
Keeper Brittanie Barbero hustled out of goal to snare through-balls, crosses and long throw-ins.
“I didn’t hesitate at all to come out,” Barbero said. “If I did [hesitate], I knew they were going to score. I didn’t want to give them any opportunity to shoot in the first place.”
With nearly 10 minutes remaining in the game, Barbero made her biggest play, rushing hard to meet Midway’s Anna Dorsett.
Dorsett had wrecked havoc on a high Wakeland defensive line throughout the game, failing to convert on another breakaway two minutes before Wakeland’s goal.
A Wakeland turnover in its back third gave Dorsett another chance. But Barbero’s charge resulted in an initial save. The rebound came out to Midway’s Baylee Baccus, whose shot was deflected by Haley Lyons.
“She was clutch,” Wilson said of Barbero. “That kid has been, by far, the player of the tournament to me.”