MAGNOLIA — The historic journey continues for Klein Cain.
The Lady Canes are headed to the regional quarterfinals for the first time in program history after beating College Park 4-3 in penalty kicks at Magnolia West High School on Tuesday evening.
“I’m so proud of what they’ve been able to do on the field,” said Klein Cain coach Steve Poss, whose team defeated District 16-6A champion Bridgeland 1-0 in overtime in the bi-district round last week. “Every expectation we have of ourselves, we’re finally meeting.”
Klein Cain (9-7-4) trailed 1-0 in the waning minutes of regulation before freshman Sydnee Smith scored the equalizer and sent the game to overtime. After a scoreless 20 minutes, the Lady Canes rose to the occasion and converted the necessary penalty kicks to survive and advance.
“Our game plan today was to play simple, play fast, and the biggest tactic was just to win,” Poss said. “We know we have the capability of beating any team in our area. We know we have the team to go up against most of the teams in the state without a problem. It’s just about executing and doing what we always do in practice, which is get after it.”
Klein Cain will take on District 15-6A champion Tomball Memorial in the Region II-6A quarterfinals later this week. The Lady Wildcats (11-6-4) defeated Grand Oaks 3-0 on Tuesday.
Tomball Memorial won both matchups against Klein Cain in district action, 3-1 and 2-0.
College Park (15-4-2), meanwhile, saw its season close in heartbreaking fashion with the loss. The Lady Cavaliers were making their first appearance in the area playoffs since 2017 and had hopes of becoming just the third team in program history to advance to the third round.
That accomplishment was not in the cards at the end of the night, however.
“This group of seniors has left an undeniable mark on our program,” College Park coach Meredith Cook said. “They are such an amazing group and have set the standard for what hard work looks like and what we can accomplish when we decide to do that as a team. They’ve laid the groundwork for the rest of the program to continue. We have a great group returning next year with some other good ones coming in, and these seniors will be the reason they are ready.”
After a scoreless first half, College Park broke the stalemate in the 46th minute as junior Ashley Washburn converted a penalty kick for the 1-0 lead. That goal was nearly enough, but the Lady Cavaliers could not hold on.
Klein Cain was finally able to knot the game on the goal from Smith with just 2:47 on the clock.
The teams went scoreless over 20 minutes of overtime, sending the contest to a shootout.
With the game and season on the line during penalty kicks, seniors Elizabeth Diaz, Brooke Miller, Peewee Remi and Sophia Pezirtzoglou found the back of the net to secure the victory.
“I tried to put seniors in there that I knew could handle the responsibility,” Poss said. “Sophia and I, since Day 1, we’ve had a lot of conversations about being positive. There’s times when she’s been down on her game, and I just wanted to make sure she knows she’s a good player and can get it done. That’s why I put her at (the) five (spot) — I wanted her to finish it because I knew she could do it.”