Girls varsity soccer defeats Cinco Ranch, advances to state championship

On a brisk, windy Friday, girls varsity soccer took the field in the 6A state semi-final against the Katy Cinco Ranch Cougars. In a match that saw the momentum tip from one team to another in the blink of an eye, the Marauders were eventually victorious.

The girls in red got off to a quick start as senior midfielder Maddie Algya poked the ball over the Cougar defense and into the net to put her team up 1-0. Before the game, Algya said, practice was business as usual.

“We prepared the same as usual, just practices and stuff, but we knew what we wanted,” Algya said.

What the team wanted, however, would not be easy to come by. After the opening goal, Cinco Ranch connected for two scores in the first half. Going into halftime, the Marauders were down 1-2.

In the locker room, Algya said the seniors reminded each other that that game could be the last time they stepped on a field together. If they wanted to win, they had to give everything they had left.

“And that’s what we did,” Algya said.

Without senior forward and Baylor soccer commit Taylor Moon, who left the second half early due to a head injury, the Marauders would fight hard to regain the lead at 3-2. Both goals came off the foot of senior forward Kaity Hemperly as the Marauders began to see their state championship bid materialize.

As the clock winded down, it looked like Hemperly and company would march on to the next round. But Cinco Ranch had other plans. With only seconds left on the clock, a Cougar forward crossed the ball into the Marauder penalty box. The initial shot was blocked by senior goalkeeper Stephanie Starr, but in a last ditch second effort, the Cougars were able to tie the game at 3-3 with two seconds left on the clock.

After regulation time, the match went into a 20 minute overtime. Neither team, however, was able to find the net.

So the game would be decided in a penalty kick shootout. Both teams would take five shots on the opposing teams’ goalie. Simple—the team with the most goals advances to the state championship.

The Marauders and Cougars would go on to trade blows. Both teams scored their first three PKs. Then Marauder junior forward Francesca Amoe missed high, and a Cougar player nailed the left sidebar. The shootout was 3-3 with one player left from both squads.

The Marauders nailed their fifth and final shot. It was all up to Starr to finish the game.

“During the PKs and during the whole game…I would know how to make the save, or it would cost us the game,” Starr said. “And then on the last PK, I knew it was time.”

The Cougar player lined up for her shot, reared her leg back and let it rip. It was a shot to the top left. Starr leaped to intercept its path.


The Marauders won the shootout 4-3.

“All my emotions went everywhere,” Starr said. “I just started screaming because I knew we were going to a state championship.”

Starr’s teammates streamed from the sideline to dogpile her after the game winning save.

“That was awesome,” Algya said. “I knew she had to stop it for us to win…and I can’t believe she did. She guessed the right way, and it was awesome.”

Girls varsity soccer will finish their playoff run Saturday, April 21 against Houston Memorial High School in the state championship match. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.