TAPPS Playoffs: Ward's late goal sends St. Pius X girls soccer to TAPPS Division I State Championship
HOUSTON - Corrine Ward raised her left hand into the air and put foot to ball from the far corner.
Sailing through the muggy March afternoon air, the ball off the St. Pius X junior's foot began to curve towards the goal. As it came down it did so straight into the net and over the outstretched hand of the goalie. An "Olympic" goal.
"Honestly, the way it was bending I thought it was going out of bounds," Ward said. "I felt like I had let my team down but then it went it. I was totally shocked."
The score with 8:16 remaining put St. Pius X up 2-1 over St. Agnes Academy in the TAPPS Division I State Semifinals match and eventually punched their ticket to Tuesday's state title match in Round Rock.
"I feel like when we first got together with this team, we understood we had a really good squad,” St. Pius X coach Laura Flores said. “They have been working hard. They’ve put their hearts and souls into this. They deserve this so much.”
St. Pius X in the playoffs had defeated St. Dominic Savio Catholic (7-0) and San Antonio Christian (1-0) to reach the State Semifinals. The 2-1 win on Friday propelled them to the state title match for the first time in program history.
Midway through the first half, Ward lined up for a corner kick and booted it in. The ball was pushed out by the goalie to the feet of Tess Dabney, who rocketed one in from 30 yards out, making it 1-0 in the 24' minute. St. Agnes Academy would respond int he 28' minute with an equalizer, which tied the match 1-1 at the half.
In the second half, the play of goalkeeper Sarah Woods came up huge with multiple saves, keeping the match tied.
"I was pretty nervous the entire time, but I had the help of my teammates," Woods said. "I was confident that they would save the goals if I couldn't. I was there as much as I could be."
Woods and company kept the game tied long enough to let the offense come through in the end.
With three seconds and counting left on the clock, the victory within grasp, Flores began running onto the field towards Woods to embrace her goalie. Then the rest of the team followed in celebration.
"That was insane," Ward said. "I was so tired after the game. But once we started celebrating I got all of my energy back."
TAPPS DI State Semifinal: @SPXGirlssoccer will play for a State Championship on Tuesday!! Time to celebrate Panthers!! @SPXPanthers - 2
St Agnes Academy - 1
Final Score #vypecampus@LethalSoccer@TAPPSsoccer@JeffreySFeller@CranfillGreg@StPiusX@HTownHSS@StPiusXFootballpic.twitter.com/5uJrqu1qMq
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) March 4, 2022