By Mike Bruu, TSB Staff
Five seconds are all that stood between the McKinney High girls soccer team and a chance to knock off the defending state champs at MHS on Tuesday night.
Defending a ferocious attack from the Lady Wolverines for the last 53 minutes of the game, the Lionettes, holding a slim 1-0 lead, and their fans began counting down the last seconds on what looked to be their biggest win of the season. It would have also been a tremendous boost heading into district play Friday night.
Facing a final onslaught from the Frisco Wakeland offense, McKinney was unable to get the ball out of the box and secure possession cleanly, which allowed Wakeland’s attackers to have a clean shot on goal and the eventual tying point. With four or five Lady Wolverines with a chance at the ball and with five seconds left on the clock, Sydney Kingston kicked it in from close range, giving Wakeland the game-tying goal, to make the final score 1-1, in front of a stunned McKinney crowd.
“We showed we can play with the best tonight,” Lionettes cooach Alex Pantarotto said after his team stood toe-to-toe with the reigning state champs. While the Lionettes would have loved to have a victory tonight to propel them into the district opener against Prosper Friday night, Pantarotto loved the effort of his girls and was determined to stay positive moving forward. “Sometimes you can look at these things as a heartbreak, and sometimes you can look at these things like ‘Hey, we were competitive and we showed we can play with anybody.’”
McKinney’s lone goal of the game came in the first half when Lauren Neely scored off a deflection in the 26th minute, one of the few shots on goal the Lionettes had all night. Despite the lack of shots by McKinney, the Lionettes did a good job all night at playing sound defense against an aggressive Wakeland offense for almost the entire game.
While the players on the McKinney sideline may be disappointed after only walking away with a tie, Coach Pantarotto believes there is more that can come out of nights like tonight than just the result on the scoreboard.
“I think we cannot view it just on a defeat or a tie or a win, we got to see what lessons we learn in life and how we can learn so next time we are a little better in these situations,” Pantarotto said.
McKinney (2-2-4) hosts Prosper Friday night in the Lionettes District 17-4A opener. If MHS shows the kind of intensity and execution they displayed Tuesday night against one of 4A’s powerhouses in Texas, the Lionettes will be a tough team to keep down in 2012.
Editor’s Note: Photos submitted by Dan Jarvis