NORTH RICHLAND HILLS – It didn’t take long for the Midlothian girls soccer team to realize Tuesday might not have been its day. Grapevine just kept emphasizing that point.
After giving up two fluke goals early on, things only got worse for the Lady Panthers as the Lady Mustangs raced out to a 3-0 halftime lead before blowing things open in the second half for a 9-0 bi-district win.
“That mentally weighs on you a little bit. I think our girls at the point may have been like, ‘Maybe we’re not supposed to be here yet.’ At 4-0 you could see them start drooping their shoulders a little bit,” coach Sid Danner said.
The first goal came just eight and a half minutes into the match as goalie Dani Mayfield played the ball exactly as she has been taught to. Her defense forced a high shot which went up to the crossbar, came down, hit her in the back and rolled into the back of the net. It was the first omen but not the last.
Seven minutes later, Grapevine went up 2-0 when a ball bounced around in a pack of players and somehow landed at the feet of a Lady Mustang who fired off a shot that glanced off players from both teams and found the back of the net.
Midlothian’s defense tightened to not allow a goal for more than 15 minutes but Grapevine tacked on another goal with just under 10 minutes in the first half. When the Lady Mustangs scored under two minutes into the second half, the rout was on.
“I think due to the fact we don’t have a whole lot of senior leadership, we had one starter on here and the other ones who have been injured and trying to work their way back into it, it was hard just basically with an inexperienced team. We kind of exposed ourselves a little bit,” Danner said.
The loss is Midlothian’s first bi-district playoff loss in more than seven years and while the school got its first 5A playoff win with the boys’ victory earlier in the night the girls programs are still winless. The volleyball team made the postseason but lost its bi-district game.
A year removed from being a 4A program, Danner and his squad quickly came to realize the biggest difference between the two levels isn’t always the talent in the regular season but how things play out in the postseason. In years past, the Lady Panthers were the ones doling out lopsided bi-district defeats. On Tuesday, they got a look at the flip side.
Danner’s hope is to see his youthful team learn from the experience.
“We have a lot of people who haven’t been in a game situation like this in the playoffs. And it’s a 5A district, we can’t go two or three rounds now with getting our feet underneath us. It’s kind of the same way as playing the regional semifinals or quarterfinals right now as soon as the playoffs start, we don’t have that luxury anymore,” Danner said. “I think we were not quite ready for this. But a good learning experience especially for the young ones who were able to get in under these lights and the playoff experience.”