Home support spurs girls varsity soccer past Austin High in second win of District play

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In what was girls varsity soccer’s first District home game of the season, Westlake hit the ground running, controlling in the midfield and creating plenty of chances in attack. After minimal adjustments going into the second half, a pair of late-second-half goals by midfielder senior Maddie Dawson propelled the Chaps to a 3-1 victory over rivals Austin High. 

“I thought we were a little bit more one sided in the first half, and we actually shared the ball to both sides the second half,” head coach Darci Carruthers said. “We just wanted to make sure that we had a little bit better shape in the midfield. I was happy with that tactically.” 

Dawson, a four-year varsity player, has grown increasingly threatening in attack, making incisive runs on the wings and in the middle of the field to create chances. In terms of finishing those chances, she says it’s all in locating the shots. 

“It takes a lot of practice and hard work to get [shots] placed in the right spot of the goal,” Dawson said. “I think I really executed that tonight. My four years on varsity have really taught me a lot in terms of getting in the right place.” 

“Maddie improves every day that she comes out and touches the ball,” Carruthers said. “She’s a natural goalscorer. She just knows how to get the goal when we need it most, and she did that twice for us tonight.

The Chaps dominated in terms of shooting, with 20 shots (8 on target) to the Maroons’ 4 (3 on target). The scoring was opened by Chaparral midfielder senior Kasey Hendrix in the 13th minute. Austin High’s only goal came from a penalty in the 78th minute which was almost saved by goalkeeper junior Ireland Aerni before finding the back of the net. 

The new supporters group dubbed the Blue Army has been a major talking point for Westlake soccer as the program has looked to rally support for the team. In the first home game of the season, a student group roughly 30 people strong came out sporting t-shirts sold by the team. Combined with the parents and other fans, the stadium was loud from the first whistle, fulfilling the home-field advantage for the Chaps. 

“It felt good just to be home in front of the Blue Army who I thought turned out and good numbers and they were loud and supportive,” Carruthers said. “I think they gave us that extra little energy boost that we were needing especially towards the end of the game.”