Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Plano West uses dominant final 20 minutes to reach third straight UIL state title match
GEORGETOWN — A compliment for Plano West freshman Abby Grace Cooper is that it’s hard to tell whether she is right- or left-footed.
She scored off some nice dribbling and a natural-looking left-footed cross Thursday to lead Plano West in a 3-0 victory over San Antonio Reagan in a Class 5A girls soccer state semifinal.
Cooper scored in the 20th minute of the first half to give Plano West a 1-0 lead, which it expanded in the final five minutes as senior Rachel Grout and sophomore Lakyn Pope added goals. Cooper, who moved into the starting lineup late in district play, scored the game-winning goal in three of Plano West’s last four playoff games.
“When we score first, it builds our confidence,” Cooper said. “We know our defense is solid.”
In addition to her finesse shot for a goal, Cooper rifled two other shots, one with each foot, as Plano West (20-2-4) controlled the tempo. Plano West, trying to win a third consecutive state championship, will play Hebron at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Cooper had the only goal in a 1-0 victory over McKinney in the regional final last week in addition to the game-winning goal in the regional quarterfinals against Allen.
Cooper said she considers herself a little stronger on her right foot but is comfortable with either. Plano West coach Allie Rogosheske said Cooper has blended well in the last half of the season. Plano West graduated five all-tournament players but has returned with a cross section of underclass starters.
“AG [Cooper] always played but just started finding her confidence with the other players,” Rogosheske said. “She sees things others don’t. She makes everyone else better.”
Despite a conservative approach, Plano West outshot Reagan (21-2-3) even in the second half. Cooper’s strong right-footed shot was saved by the Reagan keeper, but Grout dribbled in and took a 10-yard shot for a 2-0 lead in the 71st minute.
Plano West led 3-0 two minutes later as Pope scored the final goal. Pope, a sophomore who has committed to Oklahoma State, leads Plano West with 15 goals. She also had a game-winning goal in Plano West’s playoff run.
“We’ve got a young squad who hasn’t been here before,” Rogosheske said. “We talk about one game at a time, but there is a lot of hoopla at the state tournament that you usually don’t get. We’ve had the seniors do a great job of making everyone feel loose.”
Hebron vs. Plano West
11 a.m. Saturday
Did you know: The two schools are separated by less than 4 miles.