By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 9, 2018) — Alyssa Northcutt completed the clean sheet started by Mady Wyly, who made an outstanding save on yet another night neither was often challenged, and Claire Choate provided the only goal in a 1-0 Stephenville win over Mineral Wells Friday at Lem Brock Field.
No.3 Stephenville (20-2, 7-0) is guaranteed at least a share of the District 4-4A title and the No. 1 playoffs seed. The Honeybees have twice been co-champions with Abilene Wylie but never before have they gone undefeated through district play or won a district championship outright, which will occur with then exst Bees win or Wylie loss.
That almost happened Friday when Wylie trailed 2-0 but answered with three unanswered goals in a 3-2 win over Brownwood.
Stephenville won its 13th consecutive match and has not allowed a goal in 12 of them.
“I’m happy with where we are defensively. Alyssa and Mady, having them both, it just really gives you peace of mind. And it’s not just goalkeeping, because it’s not like they are having to make 18 saves back there. If they were, we would have a lot of other problems to address, but they aren’t seeing many shots at all because the girls in front of them are playing so well defensively and up through the midfield.”
That includes sophomore Beatris Chavarria, an all-state selection in 2017 who missed Tuesday’s win over Brownwood with a twisted ankle. She was back and turned in a flawless performance Friday.
“We have a lot of good players, but Beatris is one of those, if you really understand soccer and her job and how well she does it and how it contributes to the success we have had going back to the middle of last year, you can see that she is a special talent,” said the 11th-year head coach. “She’s up there high on the list, I would say with the best players we’ve had since I’ve been her.”
Choate scored in the second half on yet another sophomore-to-sophomore goal with the assist coming from Haleigh Beam.
Mineral Wells had a hard time generating any kind of looks, but Stephenville had a number of other opportunities.
“There is a difference in just kicking the ball down there and saying you had a chance and actually creating good opportunities, and I felt like we created several good opportunities, we just have to finish,” said Weil. “But credit Mineral Wells and all the teams in our district. They’re playing great defensively. They know what we have because they saw last year what we did with girls like Ciara (Johnston) and Gracie (Bales) up front and you can see they put a lot of time and game planning into what it takes to contain us.”
It’s a high level of competition every time out on the pitch in 4-4A, which sent all four members to at least the third round of the playoffs, producing half the quarterfinalists in Region I and half the regional semifinalists. And in Stephenville, of course, it also is home to the reigning conference champions.
“This has to be the toughest district in 4A. Show me another district with four teams that can defend like that,” said Weil. “Show me a district with four teams that all made it to the third round of the playoffs last year.”
Concerning for Weil is the route ahead in the playoffs offering less competition
“I’m a little worried just because I want us to stay sharp and keep playing at a high level. It’s easy to get the girls focused and ready to play their best when they know their playing a team that went three or four rounds deep in the playoffs last year, I just hope we stay sharp and don’t play down to the level of the competition.”