Girls’ soccer reaches state title, falls to Prosper in historic championship game

Despite title game loss, Chaps turned heads in outstanding 2024 campaign
Mia Fillpot
Forward junior Mia Berry dribbles around defenders in the Chaps’ 1-0 loss to Prosper in the UIL 6A Girls’ Soccer State Championship game at Birkelbach Field Saturday, April 13. The title game appearance was the first time the Chaps have made the championship since 1996.

A season to remember for the girls’ varsity soccer team ended Saturday, April 13 at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown. A lengthy playoff run led the Chaps to their first state championship game since 1996, with two of the most important games in school history played last weekend. 

The Chaps began the weekend with a state semifinal matchup with Rockwall (21-4-2) Friday morning. Nearly two years to the date of the match, the Chaps had their state championship dreams crushed at the hands of Southlake Carroll, as a 3-0 loss in the 2 022 playoffs prevented them from playing for their first state title in class 6A. 

However, 728 days later, on the same field, the Chaps were the ones celebrating a trip to the championship game.

A late goal by midfielder junior AJ Carlson and goalkeeper sophomore Sophia Martin’s third consecutive clean sheet propelled the Chaps to a 1-0 victory in the UIL 6A Girls’ state semifinal at Birkelbach Field Friday morning. 

The Chaps got the first of their game-defining plays late in the first half. After a penalty kick was awarded to Rockwall, Martin stood strong between the posts. She extended to her right and blocked midfielder senior Ayla Garcia’s shot to keep the score level before halftime. Martin made four saves in the match, but her stop from the penalty spot was undoubtedly the most important. 

With momentum coming into the second half, the Chaps inched closer to a breakthrough in the latter 40 minutes of the match. In minute 70, they found it. 

Forward senior Kate Grannis evaded several defenders on the right side, dribbled around the goalkeeper and laid off a short pass to Carlson. Carlson took a touch before firing a shot into the upper middle part of the net, giving the Chaps a 1-0 lead. The goal and a final defensive stand were enough to seal the win. 

The victory confirmed that the Chaps’ long playoff road would end in an all-or-nothing matchup with Prosper. The Eagles, rated as the top team in the state by Maxpreps, defeated Seven Lakes 3-0 Friday to punch their ticket to the championship game. 

Midfielder junior Cadence Carlson dribbles near midfield in the Chaps 1-0 loss to Prosper in the state championship game at Birkelbach Field Saturday, April 13. Carlson, midfielder junior AJ Carlson and goalkeeper sophomore Sophia Martin were named to the all-tournament team. (Mia Fillpot)

The Chaps took the pitch Saturday as a clear underdog, yet facing an intimidating opponent was no new sight. The Chaps entered their final five matches with fewer wins than the opponent, but relied on decisive plays from their star players all season in order to keep finding ways to win. 

Head coach Darci Carruthers and her squad looked for more of the same in the title game Saturday, but couldn’t break through when it mattered most. 

The Chaps struggled to generate scoring chances and were held goalless for the first time since February 6 as they fell to Prosper (26-2-2) in the UIL 6A Girls’ State championship game at Birkelbach field Saturday. Eagles’ midfielder junior Olivia Hess scored the game’s lone goal with a strike off a free kick early in the second half. 

While the season may have ended in a loss, it was by no means a disappointing year. The Chaps failed to make the playoffs in the 2023 season, yet provided an outstanding and rather unexpected response in 2024. 

Embracing the role of underdog in the playoffs, the Chaps fought through a gauntlet of a tournament bracket, outscoring opponents 13-3 en route to their first championship appearance since 1996. 

The Chaps had several standouts in both the attack and defense. Carlson, Martin and midfielder junior Cadence Carlson represented the Chaps in the all-tournament team, as all three were key components to the squad’s success in the playoff run. 

While it may not be the same underdog story as 2024, the Chaps are poised for another run as they look forward to next season. The Chaps will return eight starters, including all three of their all-tournament team selections.

Goalkeeper senior Hannah Hollenbeck, goalkeeper sophomore Sophia Martin and their teammates listen in the huddle prior to the Chaps 1-0 loss to Prosper in the state championship game at Birkelbach Field Friday, April 13. The Chaparral goalkeepers made three saves in the match. (Mia Fillpot)
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