Written by SportsDayDFW.com
One goal enough for TC Byron Nelson girls to reach state soccer final
GEORGETOWN — Goalkeeper Ariana Morrison made 12 saves and persevered through a second-half offensive charge as Trophy Club Byron Nelson defeated Cedar Park, 1-0, Friday in a Class 4A girls soccer state semifinal.
The win came after an 80-minute lightning delayHundreds of Byron Nelson fans who wore turquoise shirts in memory of Josh Hernandez, a Byron Nelson basketball player who died last Saturday in a car accident while returning from the girls soccer team’s regional tournament in Wichita Falls.
Players and fans embraced following the victory, with most eyes to the sky. Josh’s twin brother, Jesse, was at the game, cheering on the Bobcats.
Byron Nelson (24-2-4) plays Highland Park (27-1-2) in the state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The delays were just another hurdle to deal with, Byron Nelson coach Philip Salyer said.
“It’s part of the game sometimes, and I thought we did a really nice job of staying focused and staying together and ready,” Salyer said. “Once we thought we were ready to go on the field and got called back, it’s just the way it is.”
With a 30-mph wind at their backs to start the game, Byron Nelson used its counter attack to keep pressure on Cedar Park early. Using the speed of forwards Marchelle Davis and Lynnsey Brim, Byron Nelson pounded the goal but was unable to get anything in the net.
In the seventh minute, Davis took a long pass from sophomore defender Kelly Roseberry and raced down the middle of the left side, a step ahead of the Cedar Park defense. A penalty kick ensued after Davis was cut down in the box. Davis’ well placed shot in the lower right-hand corner gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.
Byron Nelson appeared to go up 2-0 on a free kick from Peyton Roennau. The ball ricocheted off goalkeeper Adrianna Tirloni’s arms and was kicked into the net by junior forward Nicole Coetzer. But the play was ruled dead because of interference.
With the wind at its back in the second half, Cedar Park applied pressure. Morrison was on her game, stopping eight shots in the second half.
Relying on defenders Allie Rivers, Roennau, and Roseberry, Byron Nelson continued to fend off attacks from Cedar Park.
Cedar Park’s best chance came with 12 minutes to play, as Morrison came out of the box to clear the ball but a tough bounce gave the ball to Cedar Park forward Meagan Prindle. Her shot sailed toward an open net, but Roseberry was able to recover behind her goalkeeper to keep the ball out of the net and help preserve the win.
“Cedar Park is by far the best team we have played all year, and they kept pressuring us all day,” Salyer said. “I believe Ariana received player of the game, and she deserves it, she played awesome and really kept us going all game.”