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Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Scoring State

Senior+Bella+Campos%2C+who+received+UILs+MVP+award%2C+speeds+down+the+field+to+score+the+winning+goal+at+the+state+finals.
Photo Isabel Suarez Rivera
Senior Bella Campos, who received UIL’s MVP award, speeds down the field to score the winning goal at the state finals.

The time had come for a rematch at the regional finals. The team had battled through multiple tightly contested playoff matches. Now the last obstacle between them and the state tournament was Southlake Carroll, who hadn’t lost a game in their last 40 matches. The same team who beat the girls 2-0 at the regional finals last year. Luckily, Southlake Carroll was without their two leading scorers, as they were in France playing for the U.S. Under-16 National Team. But the rest of the team still couldn’t be taken lightly. Top to bottom, they were talented, ranked the number one team in Texas all year. Many didn’t expect the Marauders to make the playoffs in their tough region. 

But the team won tight game after tight game. Sitting in the locker room, before their Southlake Carroll match, after facing consecutive highly ranked opponents, the team was ready to take on their biggest opponent yet. 

***

Believe. It was the one word the Lady Marauders carried with them all year. Inspired from the show Ted Lasso, the blue sign with the yellow letters was brought to every playoff game. The sign was a challenge for the team to believe in themselves. 

This year, believing seemed harder than expected. To start, 11 seniors graduated. Senior Maddie Reynolds, team captain and last year’s leading scorer, tore her ACL before the season. And Erin Hebert became the Interim Head Coach the day before the team’s first scrimmage.

The team needed time to adjust with so many fresh faces filling the field. Their first three district games ended 1-1-1. But the team turned it around, winning 11 straight, securing first place in the district. 

The players continued their winning streak. After defeating Byron Nelson 1-0, their rematch against Southlake was set. 

The match quickly reached a deadlock. No goals were scored until the 41st minute. Freshman forward Madi Patterson broke away from her defender and took a shot at the net. The opposing goalkeeper scrambled to block the ball, but couldn’t position herself. The ball deflected off of her and ricocheted into the net. From there, the team defended shot after shot, giving them a 1-0 victory. 

State semifinals 4/14

 A light drizzle covered the field, as the girls shook their nerves out before the game against Westwood. The first 20 minutes proved tough. The Westwood Warriors kept intercepting their long passes. 

Senior forward Bella Campos quickly realized they needed to change their strategy.

“We’re kind of feeding into our long ball play, and we weren’t really possessing like we normally do, but then we kind of picked it up in the next 20 minutes,” Campos said. 

Around the 30 minute mark, senior Caroline Castans and the rest of the team sprinted down the field. She passed the ball high. It flew toward Campos. She shot up and hit it with her head, scoring the first goal.

Halftime came, and Campos’ nerves disappeared. She was ready to continue scoring.

Although they were ahead, the Lady Marauders needed to move the ball faster to win. Campos hit a second goal. Then, Madi Patterson scored the third and fourth. The timer buzzed and the score read 4-0. The girls rallied together jumping up and down ready to take on their final game at the State Championship. 

State finals 4/15 

The team stepped out onto the turf and was met with a supportive crowd. Friends and proud families wearing state shirts were lined up holding homemade signs. 

Coach Erin Hebert says their goal was always to win a state championship but it didn’t feel real until they’d made the playoffs. 

“We questioned what our season would look like…watching their growth and them believe in themselves since January has been incredible,” Hebert said. “After we got through the second round of district and entered the playoffs, they started to see that this goal of reaching state wasn’t some made up thing we made up for fun, but it was actually a tangible goal that we could achieve together.”

  The team was so close to reaching a goal they thought was only imaginable. They could feel the state title within their grasp. 

“We were like ‘We got this, just one more game,’” Campos said. “We knew that in that moment, this was our chance to be the state champs.” 

Though when the Ridge Point Panthers lined up on the other side of the field,  nerves soon crept up again. 

“I think we were a little nervous because they were a very physical team … our team is mainly made up of sophomores and juniors, so they’re kind of on the smaller side,” Campos said.

The team developed a strategy. They wanted to avoid holding the ball for too long and make quick passes. They learned from the Westwood match and worked to move the ball as quickly as possible. 

“To beat them, our game plan was like, ‘We need to evolve quickly, we don’t want to give them a chance,’” Campos said. 

This one game would determine whether history would be made once again after 18 years, since the time the team won a state championship in 2005. 

A fleet of thoughts went through Campos’s mind. The game started off rocky. Too many opportunities were left for Ridge Point to score. A mistake they planned to avoid. Too much open space on the field. Panic started to kick in.  

“We’re like, ‘Wow, this is the state final game and they’re coming out to play like it was a really good, evenly matched game in the first half,’” Campos said.

At halftime it was a scoreless game. The team shuffled into the locker room reciting their game plan. “Push forward” was their mantra. 

The team rallies and rejoices when they are crowned UIL’s Girls Soccer State Champions (Photo Diya Roy)

The team stepped back on the field with a new mindset. Two minutes in and Campos took a pass from senior Carys Torgesen and fought a 1 on 1 battle against the keeper. Campos scored their first goal.

“In that moment, all my stress went away. I was like … we just need to get another goal like that. We shouldn’t be panicking anymore,” Campos said. “Let’s just be calm and play the game.” 

A few minutes later, Madi Patterson shot the ball and it bounced off the keeper. She found the ball again and attempted to shoot before both players collided. The ref gave Campos a penalty kick.

She slowed her breathing down. She tuned out all the fans cheering and the parents yelling in the background with their large signs. She blocked out the referee and the girls behind her. 

Campos shot the ball. It hit the net and cheers erupted from the fans. 

From there, the team’s strong defense that had previously shut out multiple teams during the season, shut out Ridge Point. They won the game 2-0 and Campos was chosen as the MVP with her two goals. 

The team ran out onto the field hugging, ready to claim their state championship title.  

“It didn’t hit me until later. Like it didn’t feel real. It just seemed like this fairy tale story that just became a reality,” Campos said. 

Coach Hebert is now the new permanent Head Coach for girls soccer, and she was awarded Soccer Coach of the Year by TGCA. Hebert said she loved watching these girls come together as a team after so many obstacles. 

“It feels pretty amazing, I can’t even put it into words,” Hebert said. “We really wanted to put a huge exclamation point on the end of a successful season, I couldn’t be prouder.” 

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About the Contributor
Aishani Raju, Business Manager/Reporter
Aishani Raju (she/her) is a senior and a second year reporter on the Marquee. You’ll probably see her reading up on the latest mystery novels or blasting SZA and Harry Styles in the car. If you don’t find her constantly out hiking or doing anything outdoorsy, she’ll be at home attempting to cook up new recipes. She’s looking forward to bonding with the staff this year and having a great year!

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