Heritage Generals

Heritage girls' head soccer coach Stacey Dunfee said her team would have to play the "best game of their lives," heading into Tuesday's Class AAAA state semifinals with perennial powerhouse Marist.

After days of preparing to face their toughest opponent of season, the top-ranked Lady Generals fell 7-0 to the undefeated War Eagles.

The loss concluded a 20-win season, led by seniors Katelyn Beekman, Kansas Carpenter, Brodie Thompson and Meredith Westbrook.

Dunfee said the seniors have been the "bones of the program," playing in the state playoffs all four years.

"It breaks my heart, but it's one game out of 21," she said of the loss. "We walked off the field victorious in 20 games. This is our first Final Four appearance and hopefully it won't be our last."

Carptenter, who started every game in her high school career, said she was proud of the her team for a great season despite the loss.

"We've worked really hard to get here," she said. "Nobody thought we would get this far."

Keeper Shelby Mullinax said she looked forward to meeting Marist again next year.

"We got as far as we ever have in state this year," she said. "We just have to work even harder next year ... make it back ... and hopefully win it."

Dunfee said the team knew Marist was a good team going in, but wasn't able to overcome a few "breakdowns."

"Every time we broke down they took advantage of it," she said. "It was one of those things where you have to keep pushing your girls not to give up."

Marist scored four goals in the first half.
However, Dunfee said her team refused to roll over.

"We came back out with a fire in the second half," she said. "We held them for a while, but when they scored that (first) goal we felt sorry for ourselves again. Then, they put two more in the back of the net."

Dunfee said this was the first game she felt like her team was being outplayed the entire game and was proud of her team for fighting.

Dunfee said she reminded her players after the game that "it was just a soccer game."

"I told them it was awesome we got this far, and it sucks we lost," she said. "But in the end it's just a game ... and they need to walk out of the locker room and have learned something about themselves because in life there's going to be hard times."