Lady Vipers can't overcome slow start, fall in state semifinals

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GEORGETOWN — The third time wasn’t the charm for Vandegrift Friday afternoon.

Playing in the state tournament for the third time in four years, Lady Vipers lost to Tompkins 3-1 in the state soccer semifinals Friday afternoon at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown.

“I saw both teams playing their hearts out and a sunny hot day,” Vandegrift head coach Jen Hardy said. “The sun just had to come out of nowhere. I saw drive and heart and passion and it just went the other way.”

Tompkins took advantage of some consistent early pressure and scored with a header from a corner kick less than 15 minutes into the game.

Less than a minute later, Vandegrift lost Grace Erdman, who led the team with 13 goals and was second on the team with seven assists, when she pulled up after chasing a defender. Hardy said after the game its as a severely injured hamstring.

“We have a lot of players that are capable of stepping up, but she’s a senior captain,” Hardy said. “It was a big loss.”

The Lady Falcons had a golden opportunity to put the game away with 14 minutes left, but Vandegrift goalkeeper Tara Luain tipped the ball over the bar. On the other end, Paige Crossman hopped on a rebound of a deflected free kick to tie the with 12 minutes remaining.

Tompkins caught a break when the Lady Vipers tried to head the ball out of play, but instead, it bounced just out of the reach of Luain’s dive. The Lady Falcons sealed the deal off a corner kick with five minutes left.

“She did exactly what she should’ve done, she got up in the air and got a head to the ball,” Hardy said. “She does that every game and this time it spun the wrong way. She was out there defending the goal and doing everything she could to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”

Vandegrift was making its third appearance in the state tournament in the last four years. The Lady Vipers won the state championship in 2014, the first team title in school and second in LISD history.

This was the first year the Lady Vipers moved up to Class 6A. They finished the year 19-2-4 overall and won the district with a 10-0-2 record.

“Some of these seniors getting here again have the privilege of saying they’ve been here three times,” Hardy said. “We have the players that have been here twice. And then there are other who say we made it in our first year in 6A. There are incredible things to be proud of.”

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