By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Sun —
All-American Trudi Carter scored before most of the crowd had settled in and Navarro kept the pressure on all afternoon Thursday as the Bulldogs won the Region XIV semifinal women’s soccer match against Northeast, 3-0.
The Bulldogs move on to the title game on Sunday and will face Tyler, a 5-0 winner over fourth-seeded Paris in the other semifinal Thursday night.
Navarro ranked No. 8 in the nation, has split two games in the regular season with Tyler, ranked No. 3 in the nation. In those meetings, the home team won by shutout — Tyler, 4-0, and Navarro, 2-0.
Navarro left little doubt that it was playoff time Thursday, scoring early and controlling the entire match, out-shooting Northeast 13-5.
It was the fourth shutout in a row for Navarro and goalkeeper Kenia Medina who had to make two nice saves to keep Northeast out of the net.
“We work so hard we deserve shutouts,” Medina said. “If you are going to score you are going to have to work for it.”
Navarro’s back-line, led by All-American Morgan Nutley and Lundon Gutierrez controlled Northeast, which didn’t get a shot on goal until the 15th minute of the game.
By then, Carter had already struck twice.
Navarro, which is trying to get back to the national title game where the Bulldogs finished second in the nation a year ago, hit the playoffs running and Yami Bravo made a slick move in the center of the field about 40 yards out, sending a perfect cross to Carter, who was flying up the right side. Carter sailed by Northeast and beat the goalkeeper one-on-one, burying a shot in the first minute.
Carter’s goal came 56 seconds into the match, and she scored gain at the 37:41 mark — two goals in less than eight minutes of play.
The second goal came when Melina Prado, one of Navarro’s beat two defenders to the ball and spun, ripping a cross to Carter, who once again beat Northeast on the right side. It was 2-0, just like that.
“We got up 2-0 and the intensity dropped tremendously,” Coach Aric Bonner said afterward. “They (Northeast) worked real hard and they did a good job keeping pressure on us in the second half. We had several chances and just didn’t finish them. Northeast’s Chloe Jackson did a nice job on Trudi, forcing the ball out of the middle.”
Navarro had chance after chance, and after being stopped on two one-on-one drives, Nicole Broderick found the back of the net off a nice cross from Shelby Evans, who sent a cross through traffic from the left side that found Broderick about 10 yards out in front of the net. Broderick fired in the goal she had been looking for with 13:53 left in the match.
Navarro (11-4-1) has won five in a row and has been playing better and better down the stretch, and looked primed for the playoffs with the goal of making another deep run and a possible national title.
“I think we picked it up a lot in the second half of the conference,” Gutierrez said. “The first half we weren’t meshing. We knew we had to pick it up and show people who we are.”