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SL Carroll staves off Strake Jesuit to reach final

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- ESPN Rise Fab 50 No. 2 Southlake Carroll needed just one score in the 5A boys state soccer semifinal to put away No. 7 Strake Jesuit on Friday, 1-0.

Dragons junior midfielder Juan Carlos Flores headed a long throw in by Sean Chapman that deflected off Strake Jesuit keeper Jason Taffet’s hands and rolled into the left side of the goal in the 17th minute. Flores also scored the Dragon’s only goal in the regional final against Plano.

“Chapman threw it in and I just headed it,” Flores said. “I just saw it go in -- I don’t even know. I’m shocked still.”

The goal broke the ice on a stalemate of a first half with only three shots on goal between both teams in the half.

The second half was a wild affair that would yield no goals, but eight shots on goal. Southlake forward and standout goal scorer Mac McGuire had three great chances but was not able to capitalize. The best opportunity came with six minutes left in the game on a point blank shot that was blocked by a diving Taffet inside the six-meter box.

Dragons head coach Greg Oglesby was not worried about his team’s inability to widen the margin on good chances.

“I’m not concerned about that. They are a good defensive team -- their goalie was tough. Think the kids are a little bit nervous, understandably so. Now that we’ve played a game, they’ll relax a little tomorrow and things will go a little smoother in that final third.”

Strake Jesuit’s attack was hampered halfway through the second when senior midfielder Tarek Darouiche was handed his second yellow of the match for shoving a Southlake defender, resulting in a soft red and dismissal from the game.

Darouiche’s first yellow was from arguing with the referee after a foul was called on a teammate.

Both teams had about 10 minutes to regroup in the 76th minute when the referee was forced to the sidelines with leg cramps. He left the match and was replaced by the east sideline linesman.

The break gave Southlake time to rest and regroup after Strake Jesuit had mounted a brief attack and had the Dragons on their heels.

“I actually it maybe helped us a little bit because it gave me a chance to talk to them and reinforce a few things,” Oglesby said. “I told them we just need to attack and not play not to lose but play to win.”

The win puts Southlake in the same position Jesuit was in a year ago, in the state final with just one game to win it all. Saturday’s title game at 6 p.m. will be Southlake’s first since 2001, when the Dragon’s made it to the 4A final.

Oglesby said he wants his team to cherish the time they have at the state tournament and use what’s helped them make it this far -- teamwork.

“We’ve done that all year long. Kids just playing individually pretty well but collectively brilliant.”