MCKINNEY – On a cool and windy evening, the Lady Eagles took the field prepared to battle the Wylie East Lady Raiders in the second round to the 2018 playoffs on Tuesday, April 3.
Prior to the game, Prosper (20-1-1) defeated Frisco High School 2-0 in the opening round to advance, while District 15-5A’s second-seeded Wylie East (15-4-3) beat Sulphur Springs.
The Lady Eagles earned the kickoff to open the game and wasted no time getting on the attack. With the wind at their back, the team used every opportunity to challenge Wylie East Keeper Narissa Hopps.
“We knew we had to start fast, I wanted us to start fast,” head coach Rafael Flores said.
But the Lady Raiders found their rhythm behind their strong front line, looking to catch Prosper’s defense cheating ahead. They attempted several long balls over the back line, but a combination of heavy wind and tough defending kept the Lady Raiders at bay.
Nonetheless, Prosper maintained their composure offensively, and almost converted the first goal of the game twelve minutes in when senior Cameron Larsen played a beautiful ball to a streaking Caroline Havard. The sophomore used her speed and skill to push past a defender, but just before she could get a cross in the wind carried the ball out of bounds.
Following the play, the Lady Eagles continued to bring the heat to Hopps. With most of the game played in the Wylie East attacking third, it seemed to be only a matter of time before Prosper would capitalize.
Midway through the half, however, the Lady Raiders came alive. Fueled behind the substitutes Marleigh Ortega and Kyleigh Cano, East found a quick burst of attack, threatening to take the lead. Prosper responded with two long attempts from Larsen and senior Kat Rogers.
The back and forth parry between the two teams continued, with nothing to show on the scoreboard to reflect their efforts.
With six minutes left on the clock, and what felt like a hundred shots on goal, the Lady Eagles finally got their break.
Smart combination play between the forwards led to a quick one-two pass between junior Carlie Massingale and Rogers. The senior took a touch and fired a shot with her dangerous left foot past the keeper giving the Lady Eagles the lead.
They kept the combination play alive a few moments later when Lauren Miller found a wide-open Natalie Smathers, who buried the second goal of the half with three left on the clock.
“I felt really proud and accomplished, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates,” Smathers said about her goal.
Prosper would head into halftime leading 2-0.
Coming out of the break, the Lady Eagles picked up right where they left off offensively, this time shooting against the ever-present wind. From the whistle, they continued to hammer the East goalkeeper with strike after threatening strike looking to extend the lead.
As the half wore down, the pressure to find equalizing goals set heavily for the Lady Raiders. Using the wind to their advantage, the action shifted to the Prosper defensive third as East used every attack in their arsenal to get on the board.
The tension between the two teams mounted as East eagerly searched for a goal, but as the clock wore down, the Lady Eagles maintained their defensive composure behind goalkeeper Sydney Crowe’s shutout to win the game 2-0.
With the Area Championship secured for the second year in a row, Prosper will have little time to celebrate as another big game looms in the near future.
The team will play Frisco Wakeland, who finished first in District 13-5A. The game is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, April 6 at Clark Stadium in Plano. The Lady Eagles will don their white uniforms as the home team.