Flower Mound vs Prosper

Flower Mound senior Riley Baker, right, celebrates with her teammates moments after scoring the go-ahead goal in Thursday’s 3-1 overtime win over No. 1-ranked Prosper.

McKINNEY — The Flower Mound girls soccer team was knocking at the door all night long during Thursday’s regional quarterfinal against top-ranked Prosper.

With their season down to potentially its final 10 minutes, the Lady Jaguars broke through. Apparently, so did the floodgates.

Flower Mound scored three unanswered goals, all within a 20-minute stretch of game time, to close out a 3-1 overtime victory from McKinney ISD Stadium to hand the Lady Eagles their first loss of the season. In doing so, the Lady Jaguars advance to the regional semifinals to face either Southlake Carroll or Northwest Eaton next week at a time and place to be determined.

“It’s just insane. This took every single person on the team, both on the field and on the bench,” said Riley Baker, Flower Mound senior. “We came out and played with everything we had. We gave it our all for every last second. Prosper is a great team but I think today we just came out and wanted it with everything we had and I think we proved that.”

That effort was exerted plenty on Thursday. The Lady Jaguars controlled time of possession, generated several more shots on goal and created more chances off set pieces than the unbeaten Lady Eagles. 

But those intangibles don’t always reflect on the scoreboard, and for all of Flower Mound’s opportunities it was still forced into playing catch-up with a 1-0 deficit entering the final 10 minutes of the second half.

In the 70th minute, fortune shined on the Lady Jaguars after Prosper was whistled for a foul following a shot by Baker just outside the box. Awarded a free kick, Flower Mound junior Sydney Becerra netted the equalizer after burying a shot into the upper-left corner of the net from straight on.

“It gave us that confidence and belief we didn’t have up to that point,” said Misail Tsapos, Flower Mound head coach. “We kept knocking, knocking and sometimes you wonder if it’s just not meant to be, but once we got that it elevated the enthusiasm, desire and we just played much harder.”

That carried into overtime where Flower Mound netted two more goals. The go-ahead strike materialized in the 84th minute after freshman Emma Hoang slipped a ball to Baker for a short strike deep in the box that snuck past Prosper senior goalkeeper Jordyn Gunnarson for a 2-1 lead.

“Our coaches told us that I needed to hit the front post because Emma drew most of the defenders,” Baker said. “So when I saw her get in behind, I took my opportunity. She played a perfect ball and I was just able to get there. I think their keeper was guessing the other way, so I was able to slip it in the front post.”

It was the first deficit that Prosper, which entered Thursday’s match at 23-0, had faced all season. It would be the Lady Eagles’ last, as Flower Mound seized an insurance goal just over 30 seconds into the second overtime frame — this time set up by Baker, who assisted senior Tatum Beck on a goal to up the count to 3-1. 

“It was a little frustrating there for a while because we created tons of opportunities, but it was just like that final pass wasn’t there,” Tsapos said. “That free kick by Sydney Becerra was special and really broke the ice. I thought, all due respect to them, that we were the better team tonight. It could be different tomorrow night, but tonight I thought we controlled the tempo and the best team won.”

Prosper entered Thursday’s contest having allowed just seven goals all season but was forced to play defense for much of the evening — unable to sustain possession or generate a steady flow of offense against a scrappy Flower Mound back line.

“They work very hard. I think we got to this point, and I know we’re not alone but from a fitness point and a health standpoint, we were definitely not 100%,” said Taylor Baca, Prosper head coach. “We had several key players with little things bothering them and it showed. All credit to Flower Mound — they did super well, played hard and capitalized when they had opportunities. I wish them the best for the rest of the season.”

The Lady Eagles managed just three shots on goal all match — the lone goal coming in the 33rd minute off a ball down the middle by senior Kaitlyn Giametta, who juked past a Flower Mound defender and fired a sharp strike that pierced the upper half of the net for the match’s first goal. The Lady Jaguars held Prosper without a shot on goal in the second half and both overtime periods.

“We spend a lot of time on organization defensively. We know that they’re very direct and we worked all week and all year about slide and support, who’s going to step and who’s not going to step,” Tsapos said. “We knew that they would play that direct style so we made sure we had enough depth so our lack of speed could keep up with them. For one day, we’re on top of the world.”

Unbeaten in its last 10 matches, Flower Mound now prepares for its first regional semifinal appearance since 2016 — a year that culminated in the program’s first-ever state championship. The Lady Jaguars carried similar aspirations after going undefeated in 2020, only to have their season shut down just before the playoffs by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their chance to make amends cleared one of its biggest hurdles of the postseason on Thursday.

“This class is very special. They’ve been working for this and it’s paying off,” Tsapos said.

Prosper, meanwhile, looks to regroup after an undefeated regular season left the state’s top-ranked team short of its goal of a state championship. Baca hopes it’s the journey to get to Thursday’s contest that will stick with the club as it heads into the offseason.

“Our season ended a little earlier than we would have wanted, but at the end of the day it had to end for everybody. Tonight was a tough one for us and it doesn’t feel good, but this team still has a heck of  a lot to be proud of,” he said. “They did things this year that no other Prosper team has done — winning 23 games in a row, scoring tons of goals and just playing great soccer. Of course, you’d love to win a state title, but the togetherness this group showed and how they grew together is something they’ll be very proud of.”

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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