By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
WAXAHACHIE — The unofficial Battle of Ovilla Road returned to the playoff platform Friday, as the ladies of Midlothian and Red Oak took to the pitch in a 5A regional quarterfinal soccer match.
The (19-7-1) Midlothian Lady Panthers outlasted the (16-4-3) Red Oak Lady Hawks at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie, 3-1, to advance to the 5A Region II tournament. For anyone who hasn’t kept up with high school girls soccer over the past decade-plus — the Region II tournament is, statistically almost always, where the state champion prevails from.
Midlothian is now headed there and is one of four almost-always-state-champion-regional teams vying for a trip to the state soccer tournament in Georgetown.
Midlothian and Red Oak finished tied for second in the final District 14-5A standings at 9-2-1, trailing since-outed (20-3-0, 11-1) Joshua. The Lady Owls let a 2-1 halftime lead slip away and ultimately fell to Highland Park, 4-2, on Friday.
As for the Battle of Ovilla Road, Midlothian’s Zayla Reagan opened the scoring on an assist by Nevaeh Higgins in the 20th minute.
Red Oak found the net to tie the match, only to have Natalie Walker send a Kennedy Husbands assist into the nylon for a 2-1 Lady Panther lead in the 34th minute. That advantage held into the halftime break.
The Midlothian defensive unit held strong in the second half and allowed a Tatum Barnett goal off of an Audrey Allen assist be the one to seal the 5A regional quarterfinal victory. That goal came in the 69th minute to put Midlothian on top, 3-1.
Midlothian advances to face (20-1-4) Frisco Wakeland in the 5A Region II semifinal on Friday.
Wakeland defeated Wylie East (1-nil), Carrolton Creekview (1-nil) and WT White (2-0) to reach the fourth round.
The winner faces the victor of Highland Park and Frisco, with a bid to the state tournament on the line.
For those new to the Midlothian soccer program, head boys’ and girls’ coach Austin Guest was named the KBEC Sports All-Ellis County girls’ soccer Coach of the Year following the 2019-20 campaign. At the time, we wrote that Guest had “once again stepped into the dual-head-coaching role.” He had both sides, the boys and girls, “poised for a regional — and potentially state — tournament run” until the COVID-19 pandemic stole that opportunity from the programs.
Guest picked up win No. 600 in Feb. 2021. He was inducted into the Midlothian ISD Hall of Honor over the weekend.
And, he’d most certainly trade all of the above for an awkward-triangular-shaped trophy in Georgetown.
Guest and the Lady Panthers are on to round 4. They are also in search of much, much more.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports — photos to come Saturday
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith