By Colin Bado, TSB Contributor
It was a fitting way for the McKinney Boyd girls soccer team to wrap up its regular season.
After all it was Senior Night. And more importantly, it was a match against the girls’ crosstown rival, McKinney High.
Heading into Friday night’s match, both Boyd and MHS had already guaranteed themselves a playoff spot in district 10-5A, but that didn’t take away from the enthusiasm on the field. Playing for bragging rights, the girls left nothing on the field as they competed for something greater than a win. The girls competed for school tradition.
Boyd coach Michele Estes told her girls, “You shouldn’t have to be motivated for this game. It’s senior night against your crosstown rivals.”
The Lady Broncos responded to Coach Estes’ assertion. The girls’ shut out the Lionettes and conjured up two goals, undoubtedly making them the premier team in McKinney, winning 2-0.
Coming off two tough losses against Plano West and Allen, the Lionettes were hopeful for a win to get them on the right track before playoffs. However, they played without star midfielder Natalie Throneberry, who missed the game due to an ankle injury. Throneberry said she will be back in time for the playoffs.
And on this night, their aspirations fell short and McKinney now has three losses in a row before entering the postseason. Coach Alex Pantarotto said that his girls will respond positively, however, and enter the playoffs with a different mentality.
During the first half, the Lionettes controlled the tempo of the game. Kaelyn Steitz and Lauren Neely came up with the first shots of the game. Steitz pushed her ball
just wide of the net, while Boyd keeper Marleigh Essler denied Neely’s shot.
The Lady Broncos struggled to find their bearings on offense as they repeatedly turned the ball over at midfield. When opportunities presented themselves, Lionette goalkeeper Madelynn Schober’s assertive play denied the Broncos a chance to get a shot off. In the 30th minute, the Broncos played a ball through the Lionettes’ defense and Schober raced outside of her box, clearing the ball and disallowing the Broncos a chance for a one on one breakaway.
At the half, the teams were tied 0-0. The Broncos entered the second half with a
different mindset. Their tempo sped up and they began to put pressure on the Lionette defense.
During halftime Coach Estes told the girls to, “Calm down and be patient. Play your game.”
“The excitement of pregame festivities may have been lingering in the girls’ minds. We had to get them to relax,” said Estes.
Adhering to their coach’s request, four minutes into the half, Kylie Ross took a corner for Boyd and found teammate Libby Murphy inside the six-yard box. Without hesitation, Murphy struck the ball into the back of the net, putting the Broncos ahead 1-0.
Four minutes later, Sydnie Dolzine took a chance from 20 yards out and placed it just out of reach for Schober to get her hands on it. Within the first five minutes of the half, the Broncos had a two-goal lead.
The Lionettes attempted to respond quickly but came up empty handed. There wasn’t a second during the match when the Lionettes conceded to the Broncos. Through the remainder of the half, the defense held strong and the offense created opportunities. But they were unable to capitalize.
“The girls played tough,” Pantarotto said. “They lost a close game against a good team.”
Regarding the playoffs, Pantarotto stated, “We’re a good team. We made the playoffs in a difficult district. We have high expectations and want to see Boyd again in the postseason.”
Estes will have her team ready for Boyd’s first round match against Sunset High School on March 28th.
“Next week we’ll have a variety of practices to prepare the girls,” she said. “We’ll scrimmage against the JV Boys to get use to the speed, but we’ll have lighter drills as we get closer to game time.”
In district 10-5A, the Lady Broncos finished in second place with a record of 5-2-2, and the McKinney Lionettes finish fourth with a record of 4-6-0.
For all of the MISD soccer results from Friday night, click here for the TSB Soccer Scoreboard or go to the TSB Sports section.
Photos courtsey of Lisa Williams.