HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER

Rouse beats Bryan in shootout to advance to third round

Taylor Douthitt saves four of six shots in shootout for Lady Raiders

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CEDAR CREEK — When the game was on the line, Taylor Douthitt stood tall. 

The Rouse senior goalkeeper saved four of the six shots she faced in a shootout in the Lady Raiders’ 3-2 second-round win against Bryan on Tuesday night. 

"I was trying not to think about it too hard,” Douthitt said. “Just trust that I’ll dive the right way and try to stay calm. It’s been a long time. I’ve just been playing high school now and that doesn’t happen very much in high school.” 

Alivia Sparschu scored the first penalty kick goal and Alyssa Ashley tallied on the next attempt. But the Lady Raiders missed their next three shots while Bryan scored two of three to send the shootout to sudden death. 

Stirling Duncan slotted home the sixth penalty kick of the night and Douthitt stopped the ensuing shot from the Lady Vikings to send Rouse into the third round. 

“I’m really proud of her,” Rouse head coach Katie Merek said. “Taylor always comes in after basketball and she’s just a tremendous athlete. She has the right mentality and she’s really deserving of that honor.”

The game was delayed by more than an hour thanks to a scheduling conflict with the referees. None were signed up to officiate the game, so the crew working a game at Bastrop High School were called at the last minute. 

After going through warmups and playing about 10 minutes of the game, it went into a lightning delay, which lasted almost an hour.

It was nearly 10 p.m. by the time the first half ended. Neither team really got into much of a groove or had many shots towards either net. 

“We weren’t playing our game,” Marek said. “We were on point last week and this week. I don’t know if it was the delays, the wind, the weather. Even before the game started, it just wasn’t the same.”

Rouse had its fair share of chances in the second half, first with a cross that was pushed away by the Bryan goalkeeper and a second that was headed over the ball. Sparschu sent in a cross eight minutes later that almost curled in. 

Douthitt made a pair of incredible saves before the shootout to keep Rouse in the game. She dove to her right and made a one-handed stop after a Bryan attacker got in behind the Lady Raiders’ back line in the final minute of regulation. 

A long shot from the Lady Vikings with time winding down in the first overtime period liked bound for the top corner of the net only to once again be saved by a diving Douthitt 

“I thought that the game was going to get canceled and I wasn’t going to have to deal with the wind,” she said. 

Rouse will play either Tomball or Jacksonville in the third round. The date, time and location are yet to be determined. 

Until then, Douthitt is going to let this one sink in.

“Watching them run toward me after that last save,” Douthitt said. “I’ll remember how supportive they were of me and how I wanted to have their backs because they’ve been doing that all season.”

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