By BRAD KEITH
ALEDO (April 7, 2015) — For the first time since 2009 and only the second time in school history, Stephenville is headed back to the regional tournament in girls soccer.
The Honeybees scored twice in the first half then buried District 4-4A rival Mineral Wells early in the second for a 4-0 regional quarterfinal win at Bearcat Stadium Tuesday evening. It was the fifth time the teams met this season, with Stephenville winning four.
Stephenville meets undefeated – but twice tied – Melissa in the second semifinal of the Region 1-4A tournament at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Kennedale. Abilene Wylie and Kennedale meet in the first semifinal at 11 a.m., with the winners to square off at 11 a.m. Saturday for the regional title and a spot in the state tournament.
“I think the more and more we go, the more confidence that we gain,” said Stephenville head coach Casey Weil. “Out of the back we’re so solid, and as the game went on and we settled down and played the type of soccer we can play play, you can see we’re pretty dang good.”
The Honeybees allowed only one shot on goal, a simple roller that keeper Jordyn Howle scooped up without difficulty in the fifth minute. That was it – the last time Howle would have to make a save. Mineral Wells missed upstairs a few minutes later and missed high once after intermission but never again put one between the pipes.
Skylar Chipman beat the defense back and touched one past the keeper for the opening goal in the 23rd minute. Cassidy Cline gave Stephenville complete control four minutes later on another breakaway, shooting one home for a commanding 2-0 advantage.
“A team like Mineral Wells is going to come out and give you everything they can, especially in a regional quarterfinal,” said Weil. “You either pick up your physicality, or you calm down and play soccer around them. The first 20 minutes, we tried to play physical with them, then we settled down and played our game.”
And played it well enough to keep the match from ever getting close. The second half, in fact, was a constant assault by the Honeybees.
Savannah Alford hammered one into the net on yet another breakaway for a 3-0 lead in the 44th minute, and 15 minutes – and four scoring chances – later Bayleigh Chaviers made perhaps the goal of the season.
Launching a corner through the stiff wind, Chaviers clanged the ball off the far post directly into the net, capping the scoring in the rout.
“Bayleigh just put it right where you want it and let the wind do the rest. It was a great shot,” said Weil. “Unfortunately that’s happened to us like three times and you just kind of throw your hands up in the air like what do you do. It happened to us against San Elizario (in the area round), and I said, ‘Why doesn’t stuff like that ever happen for us.’ Maybe the soccer gods were smiling down on us.”
Weil can’t wait to return to regionals for the second time after falling in the semifinals in 2009. This time he’s craving the chance to play for the program’s first-ever appearance in the state tournament.
“It gives me goose bumps just thinking about (the regional),” said Weil. You look at the rankings (Wylie, Melissa and Kennedale are all among the top six in the Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A poll), but rankings only say so much. It’s what happens on the field and who you play. They’re all great. When it comes to the state tournament, if I’m a betting man, I would always bet on the team from Region I.”
But, first you have to get there.
Now, Stephenville is just two wins away.