Dynasties aren’t just reserved for the football field. Highland Park now has the most decorated high school soccer program in Texas.
(ABOVE: Highland Park soccer celebrates a state championship after a 2-0 win over Mansfield Legacy. Photos by Laura Franks)
The Lady Scots secured their seventh state championship, the most among all Texas soccer programs — girls or boys — with a 2-0 win over Mansfield Legacy on April 17 in Georgetown. The team last won in 2017, with the other championships coming in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2012.
“There’s a great history and legacy of success,” HP head coach Stewart Brown said. “The girls know that. In our stadium, we have our state champions on the wall just like football does. These girls love competing for their school and representing their community.”
“That’s why we win because we believe in each other so much and never give up.” -Presley Echols
The Lady Scots (26-1-3) finished the season with 23 straight wins and outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 158-13. Junior midfielder Presley Echols, who has verbally committed to Texas, led that remarkable offensive output with a school-record 52 goals to go with 29 assists. And Echols, like many of her teammates, will return next year.
In the state title game, Megan O’Neal scored the first goal on a play set up by Echols, who broke free in the 43rd minute on a feed from defender Isabella Yates, then played a low cross to O’Neal who just had to finish one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
In an HP postgame tradition, Echols received the game ball from senior midfielder Halley Ray, who received it the game before. Echols then had to pick a player who helped her throughout the match, and she chose Yates.
“This program is the most special thing I’ve ever been part of,” Echols said. “There’s so many traditions, and so much that goes into it. That’s why we win because we believe in each other so much and never give up.”
Maja Davison’s moment came six minutes after O’Neal’s goal and earned her championship game MVP. The sophomore received a pass from Sydney Cox and finished from 10 yards out.
Davison said she had to conserve energy during matches and use an inhaler to take medicine ever since she came down with pneumonia before the second round of the playoffs. She also scored a goal in the 3-0 semifinal win over Kingwood Park.
“It’s amazing,” Davison said of winning the title. “It doesn’t even feel real. I’ve never had this feeling before. It’s so exciting.”