Written by Corbett Smith
Southlake Carroll girls soccer squeaks by San Antonio Johnson to setup all-Dallas-area 5A final against Plano West
GEORGETOWN – Composure is something rarely seen from high school freshmen.
But Southlake Carroll forward Grace Cory isn’t your average 15-year old.
Cory’s patience in the 43rd minute led to the game’s only goal, propelling Carroll to a 1-0 win over San Antonio Johnson in the 5A state semifinal at Birkelbach Field.
“To come into the state semifinal … and tuck one away like that, we have a special one,” Carroll coach Matt Colvin said. “We’re very fortunate.”
Southlake Carroll (30-2-0) will face defending champion Plano West (27-0-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday for the 5A title. It is Carroll’s first trip to the final since winning the Class 5A title in 2008.
Fed by a great pass from senior Julia Dyche, Cory found herself alone in the 18-yard box, with only San Antonio Johnson reserve goalkeeper Madison Ersch to beat.
Cory didn’t rush the shot, patiently waiting for Ersch to close the distance to the ball. When Ersch made her move, Cory slid in a shot from 13 yards, right under Ersch’s outstretched right hand.
“I was trying to pull her out,” Cory said. “Once she was out, I just tucked it away.”
It was Cory’s 17th goal this season, second on the team to South Carolina signee Sophie Groff. Cory has scored in all but one of Carroll’s six playoff games.
With a constant wind at its back, Carroll dominated after halftime, allowing Johnson just one second-half shot.
Johnson’s starting goalkeeper, senior Morgan Stearns, missed the game, training this week with the U.S. Women’s Under-20 national team in Carson, Calif. Johnson coach Kara Stracener said Stearns’ teammates were used to playing without her, having missed several games this season with national team responsibilities.
A crucial call which went against Johnson in the 23th minute; a goal from Caitlin Schwartz was waived off because of contact between her and two Carroll defenders in the 18-yard box.
“As soon as we thought we scored, you could just tell that the energy of the girls shot up,” Stracener said. “That would have definitely changed the momentum of the game.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN