It was a beautiful day not only for soccer, but also for the Stephenville Honeybees to clinch their first ever state soccer championship Thursday after defeating Boerne, 2-1, in Georgetown.
Like in their semifinal victory, Stephenville created several chances in the game’s opening minutes.
The first came only around four minutes into the match when forward Gracie Bales let fly from a difficult angle to the right of Boerne’s keeper. The ball should have been held for a save, but it squirted out of the keeper’s arms and went just wide of goal for a Stephenville corner.
Over the first 20 minutes Boerne withstood a massive amount of possession from Stephenville, but did well to take it on - at least until the 23 minute mark.
After winning a corner, winger Haleigh Beam sent the ball into the penalty area where senior defender Savannah Alford found herself with a free header that she tucked home to open the scoring.
“That’s what Savannah does. She’s always done that,” said Honeybee head coach Casey Weil. “She’s a great player and she’ll continue to be a great player. You don’t really think about losing them, especially after a win, but she deserved the goal today.”
The Honeybees’ early advantage didn’t last long.
About five minutes later during a spell of Boerne possession, forward Paige Marcell found herself onside, despite calls from Stephenville that she may have been off, and she slotted home with a skilled chip over Stephenville keeper Madison Wyly for the first half’s final goal.
With the two teams level after the first half, it was once again the Honeybees who took control early in the period.
Moments after coming onto the field as a substitute almost 10 minutes into the half, freshman Madison Carter took possession inside the penalty area following a Stephenville throw-in and brushed the ball wide of the keeper once again granting Stephenville a one-goal advantage.
“We’ve seen it a lot, Madison comes in and defenders think it’s going to be easier,” Weil said. “They think the starters off and they’ll get a break. She’s scored some big goals, I mean the winner in the state final. It’s unbelievable.”
Late in the game Boerne tried their best to push players forward to capture an equalizer, but Stephenville’s defense continued to hold firm to seal the result.
“Satisfaction. I’m very satisfied and the girls are too. Being here and doing this is every player’s dream. Coming here for the first time and winning it is, words can’t explain it. I’m so happy for our girls. Boerne came with everything they had and we stood strong.”
In addition to the state championship, senior captain Savannah Alford also walked away with the 4A tournament’s most valuable player award.
The game concludes the Honeybees’ season which saw them finish 6-3 in district play and 25-4 on the season.