Lady Spartans headed to first regional tourmament
A deal was struck between first-year Centennial girls soccer coach Brian Boydstun and his team and now Boydstun will have to pay up.
Boydstun told his team he’d shave his legs if the Lady Spartans advanced to the Class 5A Region I tournament.
Friday night, the Lady Spartans did just that as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit to defeat Grapevine, 2-1, in a regional quarterfinal game at Mansfield’s Vernon Newsom Stadium.
Centennial (21-1-2) will face Lubbock Coronado (24-3-1) in a regional semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday at Wichita Falls Memorial Stadium. The other semifinal features Aledo and Mansfield Legacy.
This will be the programs first appearance in the regional tournament. In the programs eight seasons, the Lady Spartans have never missed the playoffs.
“I’m excited,” Centennial junior defender Casie Watson said. “We made history. Hopefully, we can keep going farther and make even more history.”
Facing a playoff-seasoned squad like Grapevine (22-2-3) was a tough task for the Lady Spartans.
Boydstun said his squad executed its game plan of playing possession ball well.
“I think we surprised them with our ability to control the ball,” Boydstun said. “We did a good job of moving the ball. We knew against Grapevine that we had to control the ball more. We weren’t going to be able to the kick that ball down there a play direct. We couldn’t just give the ball back to them because they are so good in possession. We knew we would have to play strong defense.”
The Lady Spartans scored both goals on set-piece plays. Both of Centennial’s goals in a 2-1 overtime win over Little Elm in the area round came off set-piece plays.
“We just need to work set pieces,” Boydstun said. “That’s how we are scoring right now.”
Down 1-0 in the first half, Centennial junior defender Ashli Galupi tied things up with a well-placed free kick from 35 yards out.
The game remained tied until midway through the second half when sophomore defender Kayla Smith’s corner found senior midfielder Maddie Pewitt who banged the ball into the back of the net.
The Lady Mustangs had a good chance to score late but the Lady Spartans defense was able to clear the ball over the crossbar to preserve the lead.
“The ball came off of Reese (McCain’s)fingertips and someone flicked it just over the bar,” Boydstun said. “That one was going in if they didn’t do that.”
Boydstun, who also coaches the boys’ team at Centennial, stepped up and volunteered to take over the girls program when Kara Cuellar, who started the girls’ program at Centennial, took an administrative position in another school district.
Watson said there was concern when Cuellar left but the team hoped that Boydstun would be the choice to take over the program. “Boydstun is who we wanted to coach us,” Watson said. “We were hoping he would get the job. He turned the boys’ program around. We wanted to him because we knew how he coached and we were already comfortable with him.”
So far the move has worked out for all concerned.