MCKINNEY — It came down to the final 30 seconds, but the Lady Eagles of Prosper High pulled out an incredible victory to defeat Frisco Heritage on March 24. In dramatic fashion, the team scored in the dying seconds of the game to win 2-1 after conceding the goal at the two-minute mark.
The beginning of the game was seemingly atypical for the Lady Eagles, as they struggled to find control of the ball. The Lady Coyotes of Heritage were adamant about applying heavy pressure to the Prosper back line, forcing the girls to play defense for the first few minutes of the half. Heritage almost seized the lead with a dangerous header opportunity, but the ball went just wide. Prosper began to create offensive chances of their own, including a combination between senior Mo Ordonez and junior Kristen Knipe, but the final shot was eventually blocked by the Lady Coyote defenders. A few minutes later, senior Gabby Gamboa skillfully stripped the ball from a Heritage defender and played a long pass down the line to sophomore Hailey Davidson. Davidson earned a corner for her team, but it was cleared away.
Heritage earned a dangerous free kick opportunity after a hand ball was called outside of the box. The shot was close, but senior goalkeeper Haley Birmingham was able to see it out. Prosper persistently looked to find the goal in the following minutes. Sophomores Davidson and Diana Ordonez combined for a would-be goal, but the referee called it back due to Davidson being in an offside position. With five minutes remaining in the half, the team earned a free kick in the corner of the field. Junior Kat Rogers sent a beautiful curling shot into the net, converting the set piece for the first goal of the game and giving her team the 1-0 advantage going into halftime.
The Lady Eagles opened the second half eager to extend the lead. Although Heritage earned another close-range free kick, junior goalkeeper Peyton York easily scooped the save and punted the ball down the field. The Prosper forwards combined through the Lady Coyote defense, with Gamboa getting the final shot – a powerful volley that slammed off the crossbar. Rogers collected the rebound and hit a long-range bomb that also ricocheted off the post, and the opposing goalkeeper was able to knock it out of play.
After three consecutive corner kicks, Heritage finally cleared the ball out of scoring range. The Lady Coyote goalkeeper stayed busy when Diana Ordonez played a long ball in to Gamboa, who couldn’t convert the one-vs-one chance. She was forced to make another tricky save after Kristen Knipe hit a powerful shot outside the box. Heritage would end the offensive momentum created by Prosper, however. With just two minutes remaining, the Lady Coyote attacker tossed a long throw into the box, finding a teammate to slip the ball past York for the equalizer.
“I knew we couldn’t get down because if we get down on ourselves, we let up,” said freshman Lauren Lapomarda.
Facing overtime, Prosper buckled down and hammered the Heritage back line. As time slipped away, the girls knew they needed to find a way to score before the end of regulation. Earning a corner kick, the Lady Eagles answered the call. Thirty seconds remained on the clock as Kat Rogers sent a sailing corner kick into her teammates. As the ball bobbled around the box, sophomore Diana Ordonez found the ball and slammed it home for the game-winning goal.
“I know in the back of their minds, (the girls) were freaking out,” said head coach Rafael Flores. “But they gathered themselves, and I think they played their best soccer in the last few minutes.”
With the win, the Lady Eagles earned the title of Bi-district Champions, and will continue their race towards a state title on Friday, March 31, at 7 p.m. at Clark Stadium in Plano. The girls will be playing Mesquite Poteet.