History came with a heavy dose of drama Saturday in Hendrickson’s victory over The Woodlands in the Class 6A, Region II girls soccer final.
The Hawks scored two goals in extra time to earn a 3-2 victory and a spot in the state tournament for the first time in school history. The scoring burst erased the one-goal lead The Woodlands had seized early in overtime, and it triggered an emotional midfield celebration by the Hawks at Reeves Athletic Complex.
“I’m so happy for these kids,” said Hendrickson coach Rennie Rebe, who also will make her first appearance at state after coaching in seven previous regional finals. “They just fought and fought and fought, even when they were on their heels. It’s so exciting for them. My kids just didn’t give up.”
Hawks captain Christina Arteaga, a senior midfielder, capped another stellar game by scoring the winning goal in the 96th minute. Arteaga moved across the midfield until she found some open space on the left wing, outraced a defender and fired a shot past goalkeeper Ky Hudson from 8 yards out.
“You can tell when she fights like that,” Rebe said, “she just says, ‘We are not losing.’ And when seniors set an example like that, the whole team just responds.”
While Arteaga, an Abilene Christian recruit, called her goal “amazing,” she said she was more excited about the chance to take the pitch with her Hendrickson teammates for at least one more match.
On Friday at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, the Hawks (17-4-4) will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in a Class 6A girls state semifinal.
“I just gave everything I had, because you may never get a chance to play with them again,” Arteaga said of her teammates. “I’m just glad we can represent Hendrickson.”
Both teams created plenty of opportunities throughout the match, which was tied 1-1 after regulation. The Woodlands scored in the seventh minute of the first overtime as Kate McCullough booted in a rebound. Hendrickson responded with a renewed push, and that effort paid off two minutes later when defender Dalton Fish scored on a corner kick that the Highlanders failed to clear.
Hendrickson went up 1-0 in the 32nd minute of regulation when Jayme Woodfill pounced on a misplayed ball by Hudson and knocked home a shot. Jazzy Richards, The Woodlands’ high-scoring junior striker who has committed to Oklahoma, evened the match with 18 minutes to go in regulation when she collected a beautiful pass from Ana Helmert and blasted a shot into the net from 6 yards out.
Vandegrift 2, Cibolo Steele 0: Vandegrift (18-1-4) advanced to the state tournament for the third time in the past four years, posting a shutout in the Class 5A, Region IV girls final in San Antonio.
After a scoreless first half, junior striker Afrah Kahn gave the Vipers a 1-0 lead only two minutes into the second half. She weaved through various Steele defenders before rocketing a shot into the back left corner of the net from about 15 yards out. With 11:17 to play, Vipers senior center back Holly Streber scored on a rebound to make it 2-0.
Vandegrift senior goalie Haleigh Heath made three first-half saves before giving way to junior Tara Lujan, a move the Vipers have made in every one of their playoff matches. Lujan added three saves in the second half.
— Keff Ciardello, AA-S correspondent
Rouse 3, College Station 2: Senior forward Haley Hoppe scored on a pair of headers, including one in overtime, to help Rouse slip past College Station in the Class 5A, Region III girls final in Humble.
The Raiders (21-1-4) advanced to the UIL state tournament, which will open Wednesday in Georgetown.
Rouse and College Station were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, but Hoppe’s second header helped the Raiders to a 3-1 lead. College Station’s final goal came in the closing seconds of the match.
Boerne 3, Wimberley 2: Boerne tallied the winning goal in extra time, halting Wimberley’s postseason run in the Class 4A, Region IV girls final in McAllen.
UIL SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wednesday-Saturday, Birkelbach Field in Georgetown
Austin-area entrants: Hendrickson (Class 6A girls), Vandegrift (Class 6A girls), Rouse (Class 5A girls)
Tickets: $7 for students, $12 for adults; all-tournament pass costs $30