The Ravenwood Lady Raptors defeated the Stewarts Creek Lady Redhawks in the opening round of the 2019 TSSAA Class AAA Girls Soccer State Tournament by a score of 4-1.
The victory was impressive as the opponent came into the game with a 19-2-1 record.
Ravenwood dominated the pace of the first half as coach Brandon Mead instituted a constant rotation throughout the half. This allowed the Lady Raptors to keep the intensity high and the players fresh.
This aggression allowed the Lady Raptors to overwhelm the Lady Redhawks defense as they had several near misses and had two shots hit the goalpost that seemed like certain scores.
By halftime Ravenwood had 10 shots with five being on goal to Stewarts Creek's four shots and four on goal. By the end of the game Ravenwood had 17 shots with 10 on goal. The Lady Redhawks were limited to five of each.
And that strategy paid off for Ravenwood, as at 27:10, Josie Ricketts scored of corner kick assist from Anna Jahr to give the Lady Raptors a 1-0 lead.
Then with 21:02 left in the half the Jahr-to-Ricketts duo hooked up for another assist score extending the lead to 2-0. They took that lead and their energy into the half.
In the second half the Lady Redhawks fought to get back into the game. And at 30:04 in the half Emalee Aguero scored off an assist from Dakota Mitchell to tighten the game at 2-1.
But the Lady Raptors kept up the pace, and at 21:32, Marcela Forero scored on a fast break with an assist from Tori Case to make it 3-1.
Ravenwood continued the frequent rotation and their pace and physicality kept Stewart's Creek off balance enough that they couldn't take the momentum from Ravenwood.
And with 5:57 left the Lady Raptors sealed the game when Mia Fraiser scored off a rebound making it 4-1, the final tally.
Mead gave his thoughts on the contest.
"I think we had a great start," he said. "We hit the post a couple of times, which makes me nervous. We talk about finishing our chances. We had some good ones, and we kept knocking on the door. We were able to put four in.
"We were able to rotate everyone in, so it was a great team effort, and I'm so proud of these girls. They absolutely deserve it with everything they put into this season. So we're on to the semifinals, and I'm happy about it. "
Ricketts, the game's leading scorer, gave her thoughts on her goals.
"I was really excited, and it was a little bit of pressure because I knew we had to keep it up the entire game," she said. "And the scores were pretty early.
"It was fun though, because I play center back [on defense]."
Ravenwood (12-3-1) plays defending Class AAA champions Houston (19-2) Thursday in the state semi finals at 1:30 p.m. at Siegel Soccer Complex (Field #3).