Dallas Soccer DFW

Colleyville Heritage girls beat Midland to win Regionals

Published 4/10/2011 8:19:30 AM by william wilkerson from star-telegram

As it turns out, practice does make perfect.  It resulted in a 1-0 victory for Colleyville Heritage and a trip to the Class 5A state tournament.

Heritage forward Brooke Merchant harkened back to those days after school, practicing shootout situations against goalie Jackie Kerestine, as she rushed toward the Panthers' goal with less than 16 minutes left in the second half of the Region I final against Midland on Saturday.

It wasn't a shootout situation, but it might as well have been, in a scoreless game and Midland goalkeeper Jamie Hall coming off the goal line to challenge Merchant one-on-one.

"You always want to go to the corner," Merchant said. "No matter how big the goalie is, if you can place the ball on the ground, you are going to finish it."

With that in the back of her mind, and a swirling wind at her face, Merchant kept the ball low and beat Hall to the right post for the lone goal

Merchant was the beneficiary of a perfectly placed pass by Britt Blackwell that went over the heads of two Midland defenders and directly into Merchant's path. She dribbled for five yards before beating Hall from 25 yards out.

"[Hall] was coming right at me and didn't cut off a corner, and I was able to slide it in," Merchant said.

The victory gives Heritage a chance for its first state crown since it won the Class 4A title in 1999.  The Panthers' state semifinal match will be Friday in Georgetown. The state championship game is at 4 pm Saturday. "I'm so excited. It's crazy, insane," Merchant said. "I don't think that any of us thought we were going to get this far."

Heritage (21-2-1) put consistent pressure on the Bulldogs (22-7-1) through out the game.

"I'm a defensive-minded person," Heritage coach Misail Tsapos said. "That's what I played. We start from the back going forward. I believe if you don't give up a goal you are going to get an opportunity to win the game sooner or later."

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