Friendswood loses heartbreaker to Dripping Springs 1-0

FRIENDSWOOD — The No. 3 state-ranked Friendswood Lady Mustangs (24-3-2) arrived in College Station to face the No. 2 Dripping Springs Lady Tigers (24-1-1) at Cougar Field in the Class 5A state semifinal match. The match turned out to be a fierce defensive battle throughout the entire contest.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the Lady Tigers finally scored a goal allowing Dripping Springs to sneak away with a 1-0 decision and advance to face Frisco Wakeland for the 5A state championship. Wakeland beat Grapevine 3-2 in the other state semifinal match.

“I’m proud of them; we came so far this season from where we started to where we are,” Friendswood head girls soccer coach Laura Peter said.

“This is my fourth state semifinal to lose, and I told my team that it hurts no matter how you lose, whether it’s a big butt-kicking or this 1-nil close game giving up a goal in the last two minutes” Peter said.

Drippings Springs had the more aggressive offensive attack, but the Friendswood defense proved to be as effective in holding the Lady Tigers offense at a distance.

Friendswood’s opportunities to score were less, but the Lady Mustangs did have their chances.

The best chance for a Friendswood goal came in the match’s 31st minute. Olivia Schmidt made a quick throw-in to Malak Soliman, who sent a cross into the box for an open one-on-one look, but the shot was sent right into the keeper’s arms.

“They just didn’t quit,” Peter said. “We defended, but we just couldn’t capitalize on chances that we were getting.”

The difference-maker in the match came in the 79th minute when Dripping Springs' Sofia Picucci sent the ball to forward Taliyah Copeland who got ahead of the Friendswood defense, eluded the Lady Mustangs' goalkeeper for an empty-net goal which turned out to be the game winner 1-0.

Friendswood, which made its ninth state semifinal appearance, graduates seven seniors from the playoff squad — including tri-captains Bailey Havens (who was sidelined with a torn MCL sustained in the Region III-5A championship match), Pumarie Madden and Victoria Davis.

“They’re a great group of kids,” Peter said of the seniors. “Pumarie and Victoria are four-year lettermen and starters. ... It was sad (Havens) didn’t get to play in this game. Bryanne Harner started and played center back two years on JV. She’s done a great job since moving up to the varsity level last year. They’re just a great group of kids, on and off the field. They’re definitely going to be missed.”

The team finished 24-3-2 overall and went undefeated in 22-5A district play at 16-0.

The Lady Mustangs posted 20 shutouts during the season, and they reached their ninth state semifinal appearance. The team also survived two penalty kick shootouts during the state playoffs.

The Friendswood Lady Mustangs should be proud of everything they went through and accomplished because it wasn’t easy, but it was certainly well deserved.