Written by Corbett Smith
Defending girls soccer champs Plano West, Highland Park battle to a draw
HIGHLAND PARK — Highland Park girls soccer coach Stewart Brown said he is an unabashed fan of Manchester United manager and fellow Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson, so he looked to an adage about Man U to describe his team’s performance: “They don’t lose, they just run out of time.”
“I think that’s the mentality that our girls have,” Brown said.
That was evident in the final five minutes of Highland Park’s 2-2 draw against Plano West — a matchup of last year’s 4A and 5A champions.
Freshmen Savannah Jones and Hope Hyde scored goals a little over ninety seconds apart, drawing Highland Park even with Plano West and keeping a 30-match unbeaten streak alive.
“For two freshmen to step up like that is fantastic,” Brown said.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation by Elite Soccer Report, Plano West (10-0-1) scored its goals quickly to start the game and dominated the better part of possession in the first half. Ashley Smith opened the scoring in the 18 minute, scoring a low, skidding shot off a cross from Casie Ramsier. Nicole Smith added Plano West’s second goal four minutes later, scoring off a 40-yard shot.
“The first half we were very tentative,” Brown said. “I think we bought into Plano West’s hype a little bit, deserved hype. They’re excellent.”
But Highland Park (8-0-3) shook to life in the second half, getting three shots on goal before Jones scored on a 25-yard looping shot just out of the keeper’s reach.
“I just saw the opening and took it,” Jones said.
With 2:29 remaining, Hyde scored a 27-yard attempt.
“It’s a learning experience for us,” Plano West coach Carley Phillips said. “It’s preseason. We are trying new things and letting a lot of people play. So I think it’s a good thing to learn right now, as opposed to our district.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN.