Westlake girls fall in Class 6A state championship game

GEORGETOWN — Westlake played well and aggressively and had a good game plan Saturday, but its scoring chances were few and far between, and that ultimately cost it.

A dream season came to a close for the Chaps with a 1-0 loss to Prosper in the Class 6A state championship game at Birkelbach Field.

And though the year which Westlake coach Darci Carruthers dubbed “the revenge tour” may have ended in disappointment when the game finished, it was a resounding success by any metric.

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“It just speaks to our players’ grit and ability to deal with adversity what they did,” said Carruthers, who led the Chaps to the state tournament for the second time in three years. “Every time a challenge stepped in front of us, we rose to the occasion. We didn’t get one today … but our girls showed tremendous heart. We left everything out there.”

Westlake receives the runner-up trophy after the Class 6A state championship at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown on Saturday. Prosper beat Westlake 1-0.
Westlake receives the runner-up trophy after the Class 6A state championship at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown on Saturday. Prosper beat Westlake 1-0.

The game’s lone score came in the 54th minute when Eagles junior midfielder Olivia Hess blasted a free kick from just outside the top of the box into the goal’s upper-right corner.

Westlake goalie Sophia Martin played the shot exceptionally with her diving, outstretched hand barely missing the ball as its placement was near perfect.

“They were able to capitalize on that, and we had our opportunities and just couldn’t get it done,” Carruthers said. “Unfortunately — that’s soccer.”

Westlake’s defense held up playing against a strong eastern wind in the first half.

Martin made a diving save to tip the ball up against the crossbar to keep it scoreless, while the backline of Lily Davidson, Kit-Kat Valentine and Ade Nelson was solid.

More: Westlake girls soccer team's 'revenge tour' has it back at UIL state tournament

Though the Eagles (26-2-2) had the bulk of possession, forwards Kate Grannis, Carter Utkov and Mia Berry pressured Prosper’s defenders enough to disrupt the run of play and prevent effective long passes.

Westlake (17-5-2) had its best stretch of play early in the second half when it pushed the ball with the advantage of the wind.

Midfielder AJ Carlson directed the offense effectively, but the Chaps never seriously challenged Eagles goalie Maggie Manning.

“I’m proud of our effort and energy,” Carruthers said. “Our second half was a lot stronger than the first half, and … we really didn’t allow them to build or create anything naturally through the run of play.”

Carlson and Martin — who were the stars of the team’s 1-0 semifinal win over Rockwall — were joined by Cadence Carlson in being named to the all-tournament team.

Though long playoff runs are never guaranteed, especially with the Austin area’s strong girls soccer scene, the Chaps will return eight starters next winter.

And though there won’t be a “revenge tour” after a state runner-up finish, Westlake should again be a team to deal with.

“Every time we come to state we get a little bit closer,” Carruthers said. “Hopefully next time we’re bringing it home.”

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Westlake girls fall in UIL Class 6A state championship game to Prosper