By BRAD KEITH
GEORGETOWN (April 13, 2017) — Ten years ago Casey Weil had a new job and a big dream.
On Thursday, he saw that dream reach fruition.
Stephenville earned its first girls soccer state championship with a 2-1 win over Boerne Thursday in the final of the 4A girls state tournament at Birkelbach Field.
“This is a dream come true. It’s just so very satisfying,” said Stephenville head coach Casey Weil. “Our girls play their tails off and work so hard, not just this team but for years leading up to this to get our program where it is. Now it’s on top, and that’s a testament to all of them.”
Madison Carter scored the winning goal in the 50th minute when a ball played into the box caromed off a Boerne player and the freshman knocked it in. The defense, the staple of the state champs throughout the season, did the rest, holding off every Boerne charge over the final 30 minutes to preserve the state title, the eighth athletic championship in Stephenville ISD history.
“I was wide open and it was right in front of me. It was such a blur, and I just put it in,” said Carter of the winning goal. “This was great. It’s a dream come true winning state. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we’re so glad. This was our goal, and it’s been great. Our freshman class, we’re very hard workers and we said amongst ourselves at the beginning of the season we were going to make history and win state. Today, we did.”
Weil said it was a matter of continuous pressure and playing balls into the box.
“We tell the girls, keep putting the ball in dangerous spots and good things will happen,” said Weil. “We played the ball right in front of the goal, it took a carom off one of their players and Madison was right there to clean it up.”
SISD has never lost a championship in any sport, winning a 1968 girls basketball title, football championships in 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999 and 2012 and a volleyball crown in 2003.
And with tournament MVP Savannah Alford clearing everything out of the back and even scoring the first goal with a header into the net off a corner from Haleigh Beam in the 17th minute, Stephenville had no designs on losing a title fight this time around.
The Bees did allow only their ninth goal of the season when Paige Marcell blooped one over Stephenville keeper Madison Wyly and into the net. It was the third goal of the tournament by Marcell, who scored twice in the 2-1 Boerne semifinal win over Jasper. She equalized the state final in the 23rd minute, and the score remained level through intermission and nine minutes into the second half.
Wyly and the Stephenville defense, anchored by Alford and fellow senior and Midwestern State signee Kalee Wright, allowed just nine goals all season, only two in their seven seven playoff wins. Stephenville outscored its opponents 103-9 during its dream season.
It was the first time Stephenville had even played in the state tournament after reaching a regional for the fifth time in 10 years under head coach Casey Weil. The Bees never reached a regional before he took over.
“I love these girls, love them to death,” said an understandably emotional Weil. “They earned it. They gave us as coaches, our school and our community something we’ll remember the rest of our lives.”
Defenses ruled in the championship, with the teams combining for just 15 total shots, nine of them by Stephenville. The Bees put five shots on goal, with Boerne keeper Kortni Langlinais making two saves. Wyly faced just six total shots including just three on goal to to finish her freshman season as the winner in net at the state final.
Stephenville concluded the season with 11 straight wins and ended the five-game win streak of Boerne.
The Bees played nine freshmen regularly throughout the season, a 10th wth Carter coming on strong late in the year. Seven freshmen were starters much of the season, until Jimena Espinoza suffered a knee injury.
They also lose three seniors who leave as knowing their significance to the history of Stephenville athletics, especially Honeybee soccer, is forever secure.
“This is a dream come true,” said Alford, a four-year letter winner who started 18 playoff matches for Stephenville. “It’s an honor for us to forever be remembered as the team that made history.”