Heritage girls ride keeper play into 5A finals

GEORGETOWN, Texas – It was obvious why Colleyville Heritage has only allowed three goals all season in Friday’s 5A girls soccer state seminfinal -- goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine.

Kerestine made six huge saves -- a few on full-extention dives in which she was able to get a few fingers on the ball to deflect the shot away -- to lead Heritage to a 1-0 win over ESPN Rise FAB 50 No. 11 Houston Clear Lake.

“I always had to be constantly on my toes,” Kerestine said. “I had to be ready for anything -- any ball flying anywhere. Just anything, I had to be ready.”

Along with the six saves, Kerestine had to face 11 corner kicks in a stiff wind, which allows for more bend on the ball.

“I was ready for the curve with the wind, and I had to be ready to cover that near post because they go in there a lot of the time,” Kerestine said.

On the other end, Heritage needed only one shot to find the net and score the only goal in the game. Junior midfielder Britt Blackwell hit a streaking Brooke Merchant on a through ball between the Clear Lake defense, and she buried the breakaway shot with just over 5 minutes left in the 1st half. The play was very similar to the goal Heritage scored against Midland in the regional final.

“We look for that,” coach Misail Tsapos said. “If we can recognize if the other team is flat in the back, we give the option that if Brooke can run and get behind them we’re going to find her.”

The play, however, was controversial as it looked like Merchant was offside. No call was made. Tsapos said he was confident in the linesman’s no-call.

“You don’t think about it at the time. If it was offside, he would bring his flag up. So obviously it wasn’t.”

Heritage advances to Saturday’s 5A final to face the winner of McKinney Boyd and San Antonio Johnson at 4 p.m.