3rd time in four years
By SCOTT W. COLEMAN
Four Points News
Vandegrift’s girls soccer team took out a prolific offense in McAllen and the stalwart defense of Cibolo Steele in last weekend’s regional tournament, earning a third bid to the UIL state soccer tournament in Georgetown in a span of just four years.
“I’m extremely proud of Coach Hardy and her staff,” said VHS athletic coordinator Drew Sanders. “To reach the state tournament three times is an extraordinary feat and says a lot about the competitive spirit and talent of our coaches and players.”
In Friday’s semifinal game against McAllen, the Lady Vipers became the aggressor, taking 17 shots on goal in the first half alone, and winning 3-0. That aggressive approach nullified the Lady Bulldogs’ usually dominant offense — one that scored six or more points in a dozen different games this season.
Senior forward Sarah Mahosky, the team’s second-leading scorer, notched her tenth goal of the season just three minutes into Friday’s regional semifinal. Mahosky recorded an assist on a goal by Gabie Jones just five minutes later as the Lady Vipers went on to dominate possession while using their bench to continue putting pressure on McAllen.
Vandegrift’s rotation as well as relentless attack eventually wore down McAllen and with 2:34 left in the game, junior midfielder Grace Andres put the game away from inside the box with a goal, giving Vandegrift the 3-0 advantage that held through the final buzzer.
“Our game plan was to get as many players on the field as possible to keep our legs as fresh as possible with a win moving into (Saturday) and to stretch the field and look for opportunities, and I think we did that,” coach Jen Hardy said.
Saturday afternoon, Vandegrift faced off against Cibolo Steele, a team the Lady Vipers beat 2-1 in the preseason National Elite Prep Showcase back on Jan. 6.
Like Vandegrift, the Lady Knights have been dominant on defense this season, allowing just 12 goals all season. It took 43 minutes for Vandegrift to break a scoreless tie, as Afrah Khan took a ball from near the end line and sailed a left-footed shot just inside the post to score what would be the only goal needed to send the Lady Vipers to their third state tournament appearance in a short program history.
Holly Streber scored a cushion goal with just 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
With such a strong history of dominance in recent years, Vandegrift’s roster is loaded with players who have been through deep playoff runs. Of her ten seniors, half have played in two state championship games.
That experience was key in helping the Lady Vipers return to the state championship, and it will be key in helping them take the next step toward their goal of securing a second championship trophy.
“Playoff experience is very integral in the mentality of what it took us to get back to state,” said Hardy, adding that a big part of Saturday’s victory was the ability to stretch the field and keep calm in the face of a tough challenge from Steele. “The key for this game definitely was maintaining our heads… focusing on possessions and being smart about our options.”
Vandegrift will face off against Katy Tompkins on Friday in the second of two Class 6A girls semifinals at Georgetown’s Birkelbach Field. The first semifinal game on Friday morning features another Austin-area team, Pflugerville Hendrickson, against a Fort Worth area team from Keller High School. The winner of those two matches will play for the 6A girls state championship on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Leander ISD’s Rouse High School also earned a bid to the state tournament and will face Aledo in a Class 5A semifinal game at noon on Thursday.