MINERAL WELLS — The Stephenville Honeybees may have had a little rust to shed when they finally got to hit the field for their first soccer playoff game of the 2019 season. Even so, they still managed to skip past Bridgeport, 3-0, in their Class 4A area playoff at Ram Stadium.
Coach Casey Weil’s Honeybees (22-1-2), who are hoping to capture their second state championship in three years, had enjoyed a first-round (bi-district) playoff bye because they were the District 6-4A champions. Their last game had been a district contest on March 22 — when they fell in a shootout at Brownwood in their only loss of the season.
The Honeybees had been the top-ranked Class 4A team in the state much of the season. After their loss to Brownwood, the Honeybees dropped to No. 8 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s rankings.
But in the most recent rankings listed online by MaxPreps, the Honeybees are still the top-ranked team in the state — ahead of No. 2 Midlothian Heritage, the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. Heritage is ranked current No. 1 in the TGCA poll.
Abby Harrison, Beatris Chavarria and Ciara Johnston scored one goal each for the Honeybees against Bridgeport — whose girls sports teams are nicknamed the Sissies.
Haleigh Beam, Gracie Bales and Chavarria recorded assists for SHS.
After Chavarria put the Honeybees on top 1-0 early, Harrison made it 2-0 at the 4:13 mark in the first half.
Johnston’s goal came with just over 27 minutes remaining in the second half.
SHS goal keeper Madison Wyly was faced with a dangerous penalty kick with 20:12 to go in the game, but made a diving save to keep the shutout intact.
“It was just one of those games — it was our first-round playoff (Bridgeport played and won in the bi-district round),” Weil said. “I thought we were a little off tonight. Not playing an entire week, you do get a little rusty.
“It took about half the game and then we started moving the ball the way we should. Kudos to Bridgeport. They did what they should have. I’m proud of our kids. We were able to create a bunch of (scoring) opportunities.”
Ciara Johnston said it felt frustrating that the Honeybees had too many shots on goal that didn’t find the net.
“I feel like we could have done better as a team,” Johnston said. We’re pretty solid. We got this one out of the way now, and we’re ready for the big one.”
Johnston said that was a reference to the next foe, Kennedale.
That third-round playoff contest (regional quarterfinals) is scheduled to be played at 3 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Aledo High School. It’s at 1000 Bailey Ranch Road in Aledo. It will be the second game of a doubleheader at that location — following the SHS boys soccer playoff game, which will be versus Fort Worth Castleberry.
The tickets to that game are $5 for adults and $3 for students. SHS fans will be sitting on the visitors side of the stadium for both the girls and boys games.
Wyly said she thought the team played well, and avoided having any letdown against the Sissies, who were only 5-4 as the District 7-4A runner-up, and finished with a losing season record of 12-13.
“Against teams like that, we have learned not to play down,” Wyly said. “We always start the game humble and expect the very best from every team. We definitely take it one day at a time and we don’t think too much ahead.”
The winner of the SHS-Kennedale playoff will advance to the regional semifinals (fourth round) next week against the survivor of the playoff between Dumas and San Elizario.