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Storms force early end to Plano-Flower Mound; Lady Wildcats fall short of playoff spot



PLANO, TX — With two playoff spots hanging in the balance on Monday, Mother Nature sped up the proceedings on the final night of the District 6-6A girls soccer schedule.

As thunderstorms swept over the Metroplex, two of the conference’s four matches were called due to the weather — outcomes that shaped the final postseason picture in 6-6A. 

Hebron took care of business without delay, besting Plano West 2-0 to lock up third place in the district. That left Coppell and Plano to decide the No. 4 seed — the Cowgirls led Plano East 1-0 before succumbing to a lightning delay with 31 minutes left in the second half. Roughly 15 minutes later, over at Clark Stadium, the Lady Wildcats’ match against first-place Flower Mound was delayed with the Lady Jaguars in front 1-0 with 18:36 remaining.

Although Plano and Flower Mound attempted to resume play after the initial delay subsided, the storms only amplified. A second weather stoppage followed with 12:36 left, to which Lady Wildcats head coach Heather Morse opted to call the match.

Flower Mound’s subsequent 1-0 win clinched a playoff spot for Coppell, which called its match against East moments later due to weather.

“It was my choice. This weather isn’t going to get any better, it’s not safe to play in, and we knew the results of the other games,” Morse said. “We just wanted to take care of our kids. It was just a gut feeling and (Flower Mound head coach Misail Tsapos) was fine with that. We wish them the best of luck.”

Plano entered Monday night needing a win over Flower Mound coupled with a loss by either Hebron or Coppell to qualify for the playoffs. Those odds were fleeting as the inclement weather began to pick up in the second half between the Lady Wildcats and Lady Jaguars, despite the two sides battling to a 0-0 draw at halftime.

Flower Mound pulled ahead in the 53rd minute following its fourth corner kick in a five-minute span. The Lady Jaguars at last cashed in following a ball sent into the box by junior Sydney Becerra that was promptly headed in by senior Riley Baker for the night’s lone goal.

“We run three sets off of corner kicks. Obviously, they have options to do whatever they think is fit for that moment,” Tsapos said. “We were fortunate that one of those set pieces worked, but I thought we got a head on almost every one of them. On every set piece, I thought we made it dangerous.”

Baker’s goal was a familiar sight for the Lady Wildcats, as Morse noted that both of Flower Mound’s goals scored in its 2-1 victory over Plano on March 9 came on set pieces as well.

“I thought we played well tonight, so I’m not upset with the result,” Morse said. “I just wish we would have taken care of a couple other games that would have helped us moving forward. This is a great group of kids and it’ll be a tremendous loss with this senior class.”

One of the final moments that group spent together came while huddled up inside the Clark Stadium locker room during the initial lightning delay, which lasted 30 minutes.

“I let them visit for a little bit and then we went back to our game plan and reviewed that,” Morse said.

Tsapos and the Lady Jaguars took a similar approach, using the delay as a chance to clean up some miscues from earlier in the match. Flower Mound nearly surrendered a goal after a misplay out of the back led to a hard shot by Plano junior Mackenzie Mieras, but senior goalkeeper Peyton Whipple tracked down the ball for a save.

Once the 30-minute delay subsided, amid heavy winds and rainfall, both teams tried to give it a go in a restart that lasted just six minutes.

“It was survival. I didn’t think we would go back, to be honest,” Tsapos said. “The conditions were miserable. Plano had to win the match to potentially get in, so I don’t blame them for trying to finish.”

Morse added: “They were actually having a blast. They were loving it.”

The Lady Wildcats close out their season at 6-5-3 and 21 points in district play. Along the way, Plano racked up a pair of draws with second-place Marcus, a win over Hebron and a draw with Coppell, but losses in its final three matches contributed to a fifth-place finish that kept the program on the outside of a contentious playoff picture.

“You want that top competition, but I still feel we’re one of those top teams,” Morse said. “We just didn’t get some results that we needed and those top teams that don’t make those mistakes deserve to go on, and we just weren’t able to clean up those mistakes.”

Flower Mound, meanwhile, finds itself on similar ground as last year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the season just before the playoffs. The Lady Jaguars finished atop the district standings with 35 points at 11-1-2, securing the 6-6A title they were in position to win last season.

As Flower Mound turns its sights to the postseason and a bi-district matchup against Denton Guyer — set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Marcus — the Lady Jaguars enter the playoffs on a 6-0-1 run since a 3-0 loss to Hebron on Feb. 23, a moment Tsapos said was “a wake-up call” for the team. 

“Right now, our goal is just one game at a time,” Tsapos said. “We played Guyer before (a 1-0 victory on Jan. 1) and I think if we play our style then we can be successful and just take it from there.

“Obviously, we were disappointed with the way last season ended, but we’re thankful that won’t be the case this time and we’ll get a chance to at least compete for something more than just a district title.”