The 2nd seeded Coppell High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team rolled into this weekend’s TGHSLL North District Playoffs on a 6-game winning streak with high expectations and two goals: make the Texas State Girls Lacrosse Tournament and win the North District Playoff being held at North Park in Southlake. The Cowgirls managed to deliver on the first in Saturday’s thrilling 12-11 win over rival Highland Park, and nearly completed the order in the final against tournament favorite The Hockaday School on Sunday falling 7-6 in a hotly contested dual between two outstanding high school goalies. With the win over the Scots, Coppell’s lady laxers punched their ticket as the No. 2 seed from the North to the upcoming State Championship Tournament taking place May 10 th and 11th in Houston.
Saturday’s semi-final game against the Scots was a much anticipated re-match between two similarly talented teams. HP won an early season contest at Coppell by a single goal scored late in regulation, and then lost to the Cowgirls at home by a score of 6-2. Coppell controlled the opening toss and thought it had opened the scoring on a shot by Sophomore Mia Harp, only to see it called back and given over to HP. The Scots drew first blood on the ensuing possession with a free position dodge and shot by one of HP’s speedy attackers. The Cowgirls answered on goals by sophomore Elizabeth Sapp and senior Lauren Cullison to take an early advantage aided by a couple of strong clears by junior Marin Hulme. After HP and Coppell traded several goals, including two by sophomore Charlotte Hayden, the Lady Scots tied the score at 6 with 1:18 left in the first period. Harp then scored her second goal of the game after picking up a groundball at midfield and taking it all the way to crease with 0:48 to go in the half. HP wasn’t done however as they won the next two draws and quickly converted on both to take a one-goal lead into half time. The first half had shaped up to be even more entertaining than predicted as both teams brought tremendous energy and effort in their bid for a birth in the District Championship game.
Highland Park used their end-of-the-half momentum shift to extend the lead on their first possession of the second period before Harp went on a hat-trick run of her own for Coppell with three unanswered goals over a 2-minute span that gave the Cowgirls back the advantage. The Lady Scots managed to tie the game at 10, but Sapp scored her second goal of the game to put Coppell back up by one with 12 minutes to play. Both teams traded shot attempts for most of the remainder of the 2nd period with no success. Senior goalie Ines Flueck stepped up with several key saves during that stretch and shut the door on the Scots until HP once again tied the game on a low underhand shot with 3:22 remaining. The Cowgirls kept up their aggressive attack with time running down until Harp converted on a free position shot due to a shooting space violation against HP. The shot into the bottom left corner of the goal turned into a game winner as the Lady Scots were unable to answer in the final 1:46. Harp finished with 6 goals and 2 assists on the day for the Cowgirls. Also contributing a goal in the Coppell scoring line was sophomore Ashley Bartlett with one goal in the first half. The win propelled Coppell into the North District Final on Sunday.
The Hockaday School entered the District Tournament having lost only once in a season opening game against 4th-seed Flower Mound 8-7. Since then, the Daisies have rolled through their schedule like a wrecking ball outscoring their opponents by a 138-69 margin, including an 18-7 win over the Cowgirls. Coppell has shown significant improvement since that meeting and appeared not the least bit intimidated by the Daisy’s previous success. When asked about the mindset of the girls going into the Final, Coppell Coach Molly Ford commented, “the girls had it in the back of their mind that they just didn’t play ‘their’ game the first time around. We changed up our defensive scheme a little and the girls were excited about it. They knew they could play with this team.” And that’s exactly what they did on Sunday.
Hockaday controlled the opening draw and took the first shot, but Coppell rolled off the next four shots and showed it had come to compete. None of those found the back of the goal as both goalies quickly established themselves against the opposing attack lines. The goalies combined for 7 saves before Hockaday finally found the net 7 minutes into the first period. The Daisies scored again at the 12 minute mark and it looked as if they had captured the momentum with a two goal lead. Harp, who had to fight through double and triple teams, put Coppell on the board with a goal 2 minutes later to keep Hockaday within sight. The remainder of the half was controlled by outstanding goalie play on both sides. Flueck fought off six shots in the first half, three of which were from point blank range, and had the Coppell crowd roaring on the sidelines as the half ended with the Cowgirls down just 1 goal.
For Coppell, the defense was paced by sophomores Kailey Rivera and Delaney Dendi, who combined for 9 groundballs on the day. Cullison also kept the Cowgirls going on the offensive end with 3 more GB’s as Coppell worked hard for scoring opportunities. Hockaday managed another goal to extend their lead back to two at the 14 minute mark of the second period, but Bartlett and Sapp finished back-to back buckets to tie the game with 12 minutes remaining. Coppell’s Bartlett then gave the Cowgirls their first lead as she found pay-dirt once more and Coppell seemed primed for the upset with 8:43 left on the clock. With 6 minutes remaining, the referees called Rivera for a stick check to the head resulting in a man down situation for Coppell. Hockaday took full advantage and scored 4 goals over the next two minutes to open up some breathing room for the Daisies. Down, but not out, Coppell answered with goals from Sapp and Bartlett to pull within one, but the last came with only 0:12 ticks left on the clock. Hockaday secured the final draw and sealed the championship in favor of the Daisies.
Coach Ford also added, “I saw a determination from this team over the past week in preparation for the District Playoffs that I hadn’t seen before, really pushing each other in practice to become better. We’ll play like we practice.” Despite the loss, the Cowgirls will enter Houston with extreme confidence and a hunger to bring the State Title back to North Texas and their hometown Coppell.
Story by John Eden