The McKinney North girls soccer team had become accustomed to running the score up. Aside from the team’s only district loss to Prosper on March 7, which ended 1-0, the Lady Bulldogs racked up 34 points in their last five regular season games, even defeating Anna 10-0 in their final game last Tuesday. North’s high-scoring gameplay didn’t come as easy in their first playoff game against Frisco Liberty though as they narrowly walked away with the win 1-0 Tuesday night.
North didn’t go into the 4A Region 2 playoffs expecting another blowout though. While some teams may have taken it easy following a huge win like they did against Anna, North knew its bi-district game against Liberty would have to be earned no matter who they were playing. Coach Lance Lovell wasn’t leaving the game’s outcome up to chance though and made sure his team was ready for their playoff opener at Ron Poe Stadium.
“Playing against Anna wasn’t really much level of competition. We worked really hard this week on our speed of play and to work on our touches,” Lovell said. “We came out in our first playoff game and did a really good job of playing quickly, which is better than I can say for last year.”
Last year North faced another close game against Frisco Centennial in the first round of playoffs, scraping by with a 2-1 win. The game against Liberty wasn’t much more comforting, but a single goal from North’s junior Olivia Ditmer proved all that was necessary to come out on top. After Ditmer received a pass from senior forward Hadlie Tucker, Ditmer sailed the ball past Liberty’s goaltender to snag the sole point of the game. From there, it was a defensive match.
“We got the goal in the latter part of the first half and we just kind of hung on to win the game,” Lovell said. “They [Liberty] did a good job on trying to get some opportunities on goal though.”
Although North’s defense contained most of Liberty’s attempts to the outside, corner kicks and aggressive attitudes proved to be Liberty’s challenge to North. It was up to North’s defensive line and senior keeper Clarissa Ledesma to keep their point the only one on the scoreboard.
“We got a lot more patient in the back in the second half than we were in the first half,” Lovell said. “The first half we were very aggressive going after the ball, which got us in trouble a couple of times.”
North’s girls win will move them forward in the playoffs though and they’ll take on Highland Park Friday at an unknown location and time. Highland Park destroyed Paris High 10-0 in their playoff opener Monday night, so the Lady Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them moving forward.
The McKinney North boys soccer team faced more than their fair share of trouble in the opening round playoff game against Frisco Heritage Tuesday night. The Bulldogs lost 6-2 with a goal coming from junior Kyle Biggio. After being down 3-2 at half, North couldn’t muster the drive to take the lead and fell by three more points in the second.
Photos by TSB’s Sawyer Erickson