Grace girls soccer advances to first-ever state final

The Grace Community School girls soccer team reacts to winning their TAPPS D-II soccer regional final against rival All Saints Episcopal School Saturday Feb. 20, 2016 at Clyde-Perkins Stadium. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

DALLAS - The Grace Community girls soccer team advanced to its first ever state championship game with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Grapevine Faith Christian in the TAPPS Division II semifinals on Wednesday at Bishop Lynch High School.

The Lady Cougars (18-1-1) scored in the first minute and led 3-1 at halftime. They’ll play defending state champion San Antonio Christian in the state title game, slated for 3 p.m. Saturday at Wheatley Heights Sports Complex in San Antonio.

“We played really well,” Grace coach Mitch Smith said. “We moved the ball real well; we possessed it. I think we wore them out, especially in the second half.”

After a physical battle in a 1-0 win over rival All Saints on Saturday night, the Lady Cougars were given an extra day of rest when inclement weather pushed the game from Tuesday to Wednesday. Nonetheless, Grace carried the defensive poise in shutting out All Saints’ potent offense over to Wednesday’s semifinal.

“Coming off that game Saturday against All Saints, the defense played real strong,” Smith said. “My goalie play from Rylan Wright has just been awesome.”

Allie McCracken and Lexye Price each scored two goals for the Lady Cougars. Sophie Claire Rook and Brittani Smith both had a goal and two assists.

“They did really well and we finished real well,” coach Smith said. “We had a lot of opportunities in this game to score and we cashed in on six of them so it was a great night.”

McCracken opened the scoring off a pass from Smith moments into the game for a 1-0 Grace lead. Smith then doubled that advantage seven minutes later off a direct free kick.

After a goal from Grapevine Faith, Price scored on either side of halftime, both assisted by Rook.

McCracken unleashed a 25-yard bomb via an assist from Smith to make it 5-1. Rook closed out the scoring off a cross from Price with 10 minutes left.

“I’m very proud of the girls and excited,” coach Smith said. “Great defensive play and all-around team effort.”

 
 

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