GIDDINGS - For more than 80 minutes, the Rouse girls' soccer team was arguably the better offensive team. The Lady Raiders just couldn't break through.
Rouse's season came to an end Tuesday night in the Area Round of the playoffs after a 1-0 loss to College Station in extra time. The lady Raiders outshot the Lady Cougars 7-6 in the playoff match.
"They had some momentum and they stepped up their pressure on us (in the second half)," Rouse head coach Katie Marek said. "We had a lot of chances and I thought we dominated the midfield in the first half. (College Station) came out in the second half with a little more of a presence. I'm proud of my girls and the team."
The early stages of the game saw lots of physical play in the midfield whiteout a lot of action towards the net. College Station had the best chance of the first half 31 minutes in when the Lady Cougars got behind the Rouse defense with a lofted ball over the top, but the ensuing shot sailed high.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, College Station appeared to have scored the first goal, but the side judge's flag was up signaling offside.
Rouse started to gain more possession as the second half went on. The Lady Raiders had good looks at crosses and a few shots, but none were connecting in the box. The Lady Cougars had another good look just before the end of regulation.
Marek said attacker Alivia Sparschu moved out wide in the second half and speedy sophomore Sophia Castillo was free to attack at will, which frustrated College Station for a period.
Early in the first extra period, Rouse goalkeeper McKenzie Hunninghake charged out of the net and received a yellow card and, per high school rules, had to be subbed off. The College Station penalty kick was missed.
The Lady Cougars went right up the middle of the field just six minutes later and chipped Hunninghake to take a late lead they wouldn't give up.
Senior Delaney Carrell was a defensive and midfield beast for the Lady Raiders, winning just about every tackle she faced, dribbling in and out of defenders and completing passes at a high rate.
"She was one of our leading scorers this year," Marek said. "She used to be our left back and she was still a leading scorer. We moved her into the midfield and she can dribble. She is one of our go-to girls and she distributes really well."
The 15 seniors on the Rouse team have had quite a bit of success, making the playoffs in three straighter and advancing to the state tournament two seasons ago for the first time in school history two seasons ago.
"Everybody is so thoughtful and they have made my whole soccer experience fun and unforgettable," Carrell said. "Everyone was trying their hardest tonight and everyone was getting frustrated that we had so many chances and none of them would go in. In the end, everyone was working as hard as they could to get a goal."