For Round Rock head coach Chad Aldrich, penalty kicks are like free throws. Unfortunately for the Lady Dragons, Friday’s regional semifinal result was more like Shaquille O’Neal than Steph Curry.
Round Rock lost to Rockwall Heath 3-1 on penalty kicks after finishing regulation and 20 minutes of extra time knotted up at 1-1.
It’s the second year in a row the Lady Dragons have advanced to the regional tournament.
“Even at the professional level, you miss them. That wasn’t what lost the game. Rockwall-Heath deserves credit. We had a lot of fire and opportunities to win it.”
“The focus is not on today, it’s on a 20-win season.”
Rockwall Heath made all three of its penalty kicks, while Round Rock missed three of the four it attempted. Aldrich said he can’t remember the Lady Dragons being awarded a penalty kick all season.
Early on, Heath forward Ainsley Jefferey caused the Round Rock backline problems. She broke through a little more than 10 minutes into the game, getting in behind and cooling finishing into the bottom corner.
Aldrich said he didn’t tell his team to do anything differently to contain her.
“I believe in playing the game the way the game is and not man-marking,” he said. “It was just about conditioning. We were the better-conditioned team, we just didn’t come out on top today.”
Like they had in their second-round win over Oak Ridge — scoring three goals after halftime — the Lady Dragons picked things up in the second half.
Senior Hannah Ager sent a picture-perfect cross to the feet of Sydnie Myers, who finished from close range to tie the game seven minutes after halftime.
Myers nearly scored again 10 minutes later when she had an incredible run from near midfield to just inside the penalty area, but her shot was too weak. The Lady Dragons continued to pile on the pressure in the second half, but couldn’t find a way through.
This senior class leaves as the most successful in Round Rock girls’ soccer history.
They won the district title last season, finished runner-up to state-ranked Vandegrift this year and have won nearly 40 games in the last two seasons alone.
“The senior class was all in,” Aldrich said. “All of them have bought in. This senior class is special because they have created a family with these girls and they always helped raise each other to a higher level.”