Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Denton Guyer girls soccer advances to first state-title game in school history after 4-2 win against Magnolia
GEORGETOWN – Based on the way the first half of the Class 4A girls soccer state semifinal was going, it was apparent Denton Guyer was determined to pull ahead of Magnolia before the end of the first half.
When the first 40 minutes ended, Guyer did more than pull ahead. It had sealed their spot in Saturday’s state championship game.
After 32 minutes of almost scoring, Guyer scored three goals in four minutes to propel it to a 4-2 victory Thursday afternoon at Georgetown’s Birkelbach Field.
“It looked like if we remained patient, we were going to get one in and we finally did, and the dam usually breaks at that point and it did,” Guyer coach Kenny Blevins said.
Guyer will face Highland Park or Cedar Park in 4A state championship game on Saturday at 11 a.m. Guyer seeks its first girls soccer state title in its first state tournament appearance.
Sophomore forward Brittany Crabtree led the way with two goals for the Lady Wildcats, with both tallies coming in the four minutes that swung the game in Guyer’s favor.
Guyer (27-1) opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Guyer junior forward Hannah Alspach cut back, stopped and lofted a shot into the top right corner of the net from 28 yards away.
Alpsach’s goal broke the scoreless deadlock and the Lady Bulldogs’ defense soon followed suit. Alspach assisted Crabtree connected for two more goals in the 35th and 37th minutes. That was all the scoring the Lady Wildcats needed.
“Once we get one [goal] in, we always seem to get more pumped,” Alspach said. "We start to play better and we know that, I don’t know, there’s more hope than there was one goal ago.”
The scoring duo of Crabtree and Alspach fittingly cemented the team’s spot in Saturday’s game. Coming into Thursday’s game, the duo was No. 1 and No.2 in goals scored for Guyer, respectively, and accounted for 57 percent of the team’s scoring.
“They’re a great tandem, there’s no doubt about that,” Blevins said of his forward pairing. “They’ve done it all year long and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different now.”
While Crabtree didn’t score the team’s fourth goal, she did everything but stick the ball in the back of the net.
In the 59th minute, Crabtree fended off a Magnolia defender and fired off a shot from close range that was stopped by Magnolia freshman goalkeeper Sarah Hubble. Hubble couldn’t retain the ball and the rebound slipped across the goal line to Guyer’s Taylor Heaton, who slammed the ball into an empty net to push Guyer’s lead back to three.
The goal stopped whatever momentum Magnolia (19-6-2) had following a goal by Allison Abendschein in the 43rd minute.
By the time the halfway point of the second half rolled around, Alspach and Crabtree took their respective spots on the bench and remained there for the rest of the game. Magnolia’s Valerie Turner scored in the 77th minute with most of Guyer’s starters seated somewhat comfortably on the bench.
Guyer junior midfielder Kaitlyn Caro returned to the starting lineup after missing the team’s regional championship victory over Trophy Club Nelson with concussion-like symptoms. Throughout the contest, Guyer controlled possession through the midfield.
Blevins said he wasn’t expecting his team to control the ball as much as it did.
“They [Magnolia] pulled a lot of players back,” Blevins said. “I think they were doing everything they could to keep it a close game, make it come down to a corner kick or some sort of set play.
“Once you drop that many players back in front of your goal, it allows your backs to hold onto the ball, and that’s very frustrating, even if that’s your strategy.”
Having disposed of the Lady Bulldogs, Guyer’s attention now turns to Highland Park, the defending 4A state champions. Highland Park is playing in its eighth state tournament and carries a 48-game unbeaten streak into the state championship game.
“I’m sure my kids know all of that,” Blevins said. “That doesn’t matter. All we have to do is worry about those 80 minutes that we have with them tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy for either team. I think it’s going to be a great, competitive game.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.