By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
RICHARDSON — After winning the District 9-6A title and advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, W.T. White’s dream season came to an end on Thursday.
The Lady Longhorns, playing without leading scorer Alliyah Marquez, fell to Richardson Pearce 2-0 in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Region II playoffs. It was the first loss of the season for WTW (16-1-3).
“This was the first time any of them have ever played in a high school playoff game,” said W.T. White head coach Hank Alvin. “Fighting their way through an undefeated regular season, this very young team had high expectations, so there were a lot of emotions after the game.”
Pearce’s strategy was to attack the inexperienced Lady Longhorns right away. The plan worked, as most of the action in the first half was near WTW’s box. Daniela Marin came up with several spectacular saves, but at the 4:12 mark of the first half, Pearce’s Emma Dawson scored from 8 yards out off a rebound.
“Daniela had a very good game and had some incredible saves,” Alvin said. “But they were the aggressor and outplayed us in the first half.”
Marin continued to inspire her team in the second half, and her diving save on a 20-yard shot by Dawson got the WTW crowd into the game. But Pearce continued to apply pressure and drew a foul deep in WTW’s end with 14:13 left in the game. Kristen Coniglione crushed the free kick past Marin in the upper-left corner of the net to put the Lady Mustangs up 2-0.
Although they played much better in the second half and had several good offensive pushes, the Lady Longhorns had very few clean shots on goal.
“Our two leading scorers are both freshmen as are many of our starters,” Alvin said. “This team will have more chances and I’m excited about the future of this program.”