By Sean Shapiro / Special Contributor
GEORGETOWN – Highland Park fell one win short of its sixth state championship on Saturday.
Coppell took advantage of the wind in the first half of a 3-0 victory in the Class 6A title game at Birkelbach Field.
Sarah King and Emma Jett scored a pair of wind-aided goals seven minutes apart in the first half, and Coppell held the ball in Highland Park’s end for the majority of the opening stanza.
King headed home a long pass by Madeline Guderian at the 18-minute mark of the opening half. The long pass traveled 30 yards and hung up in the wind, allowing the Coppell forward to position herself under the ball and give her team a lead.
“The first goal, I thought we were kind of even before that,” Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said. “We were pushing, and when they got that goal it kind of deflated us a little bit.”
Jett’s goal wasn’t a direct result of the wind – she fired home a rebound on a corner kick. But the chance was set up after Coppell sustained pressure and forced a corner kick moments after a long pass into the box.
The Lady Scots’ offside trap helped limit the first-half damage. Coppell had a pair of goals called back on offside calls, and the officials whistled Coppell four times in total for illegally sneaking past the last defender.
Highland Park had the wind at its back in the second half but couldn’t capitalize, and Coppell added a third goal with four minutes remaining.
The Lady Scots had a couple chances in the Cowgirls’ end, but each offensive chance was cleared or easily gobbled up by Coppell goalie Rachel Johnson.
It was Highland Park’s first loss of the season, and the game could have also been considered a national championship matchup.
Coppell (28-0-3) entered the game as the top-ranked team in Top Drawer Soccer’s Winter Fab 50, while Highland Park (25-1-2) entered the game ranked second in the poll which rates team from Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Kate Summers led Highland Park with two shots, while Ginny Hoy made two saves in the loss.
“If we’re looking ahead for next year we have a lot of kids who have great experience,” Brown said. “And we’ll know what it takes to get here. We’ll rely on that next year.”