Stephenville Honeybees beat Lake View Maidens 2-0 to advance to regional tourney
The Stephenville girls soccer team rolled with the wind Friday.
With 20 mph gusts blowing toward the opposing goal, the Honeybees scored twice in the first half of Friday’s regional quarterfinal game against San Angelo Lake View at Shotwell Stadium. They cruised in the second half, winning 2-0 and advancing to the regional semifinals.
Stephenville is 21-0-2, while Lake View finishes 12-6-2.
“Whatever you throw at them, they go out there and achieve,” Stephenville head coach Justin Rhodes said. “They’re unselfish.”
The Honeybees opened the scoring in the 10th minute, when junior Melissa Osornio hit a dribbler past Lake View’s goalkeeper. In the 21st minute, junior Ansley Meza netted a strike from roughly 20 yards out to send the game to halftime 2-0.
“We created a lot of opportunities,” Rhodes said. “They are very team-oriented.”
But shortly after halftime, Lake View’s Jazmyne Flores tentatively scored on a breakaway, which would have cut Stephenville’s lead to 2-1. But the official’s called a foul prior to Flores’ shot.
That overturned goal was crucial for the Honeybees.
“(It was) massive,” Rhodes said. “When you give up a goal, you have to regroup and battle. Fortunately we weren’t in that position.
“We don’t give up a lot of goals.”
After that, Stephenville didn’t give up another shot on goal. The Honeybees intensified their pressure and played keep away to secure their two-goal win.
“Our defense carried when the other team had the wind advantage in the second half,” Stephenville junior Tori Cameron said. “That’s the most important thing. That’s the reason why we won the game.”
While the Maidens drew the short stick, both coaches applauded the play of Lake View goalkeeper Jennifer Mata. She made several point-blank saves in the second half, keeping the Maidens in striking distance.
“Jennifer did an outstanding job,” Lake View head coach Henry Gonzales said.
Rhodes added, “She had some legitimate breakaway saves against players who will play after high school. Credit to her.”
Heading into the Region I-4A semifinals, Stephenville is in a familiar position. The Honeybees fell in the regional semis last year, when they lost 2-1 to Midlothian Heritage.
That’s keeping them disciplined ahead of the fourth round.
“It’s like a feeling of last year,” Cameron said. “Everyone’s checked in and in the zone and ready to get back in.”
Stephenville will face Midlothian Heritage in a grudge match at Northwest ISD Stadium (Fort Worth) Friday for a shot at the regional finals. Rhodes is hoping his squad follows suit of Stephenville’s football team, which won the 4A Division I state title in December.
“We’re just blessed,” Rhodes said. “We have the whole community behind us: the administration, teachers, players, staff. It’s a blessed place to be.
“If we can give back to the community, maybe follow our football team to the final round, that would be nice for us.”
As for Lake View, Gonzales sees the season as a success. The Maidens lost in the area round a year ago, and they went one round deeper than that in 2022.
“We reached our goal,” Gonzales said. “What we did today is going to give us more motivation for the coming year. Hats off to Stephenville; they did a great job. But our girls did a good job, also.”
Carson Field is the area sports reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. He covers primarily Big Country high school sports. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to reporternews.com.