GEORGETOWN — A pair of incredible free kicks wasn’t enough to help the Rouse girls soccer team make even more history.
The Lady Raiders’ season came to an end Thursday in the state semifinals, falling 3-2 to Aledo at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown. It was the first state tournament appearance in the team’s history.
“We’re setting new standards for not only Rouse sports, but our girls' soccer program,” Rouse head coach Katie Kistner said.
Aledo dominated the possession over the first 10 minutes of the game, but Rouse started to get some momentum when Abby Schraeder saw her precision free kick tipped over the bar. But the Lady Bearcats took the lead soon after when a high shot deflected in from the left side of the box.
Schraeder tried a free kick again with 15 minutes left in the first half, almost from the same spot as her first try. She was on point and her shot was inches above the Aldeo keeper’s reach to tie the game. Alivia Sparschu looked to have tied the game less than five minutes later, but the flag went up for offsides.
The second half started like the game did with Aledo on the front foot. And just as Rouse started to gain some momentum, Megan Olds went down with a leg injury. Trainers put a soft cast on her leg and was carted off the field.
The Lady Raiders took the lead with 20 minutes remaining on Abby Forster’s free kick goal from nearly 40 yards away. But 10 minutes later the Lady Bearcats leveled the game with a blast from the top of the box.
Both teams had their chances in overtime and went through the first 10 minutes without a goal. But Aledo scored their own goal direct from a free-kick with three minutes left in the second period and Rouse could never recover.
The seven seniors on the team were freshmen the last time Rouse even sniffed this stage of the postseason. The Lady Raiders are losing their top goalscorer Haley Hoppe (35 goals) and the top two assist leaders in Charlotte Wilson (11) and Schraeder (8).
“I’m proud that we were able to give them a really great season, but I’m sad we couldn’t make it to the last game,” Kistner said. “We got further than we’ve ever gotten and made it past where they made it as freshmen and I’m happy we could do that for them.”
There are many points throughout the season that stand out to Kistner. From the 0-0 draw against district rivals Cedar Park that showed her the team could compete with the best in the state to the regional tournament where the team got to know each other better.
“It was a ride of emotions,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team. They worked really hard to get here and I couldn’t have asked for a better season. I’m really proud of our seniors and we left it all out there and you can’t ask for more than that.”