By Joe Harrington / Special Contributor
AUSTIN — Kate Summers scored three goals, including two in the first half, and Highland Park will return to the state soccer tournament.
The Lady Scots earned their fifth straight postseason shutout with a 3-0 win over Pflugerville Hendrickson in the Class 6A Region II final on Saturday at Reeves Athletic Complex.
HP, the 2012 Class 4A state champions and 2013 state runners-up, will play on April 17 in Georgetown in search of its first Class 6A title.
“When you have a team that plays together and is focused and loves being around each other, you always have a chance,” Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said. “It doesn’t matter what classification you have, and we have a very special group of kids.”
The Lady Scots (22-0-2) had to beat a surprise Hendrickson (15-5-4) team who rallied from a third-place finish in District 13-6A to reel off wins over Lake Travis, Humble Atascocita, Round Rock Westwood, and Sachse to reach the region II final.
HP controlled possession for much of the first half, limiting Hendrickson to just two shots on goal. But the Hawks’ defense kept the game scoreless for the first 24 minutes until Summers found the net off a free kick.
“It really just lifted us off the ground,” said Summers, who’s heading to Texas Tech next fall. “Once we got our first goal we were non-stop. We were on fire the rest of the game.”
The Lady Scots added another goal seven minutes later when Summers took a pass from Haley Vice and scored to go into halftime with a two-goal lead.
“We knew that if we played our way, we would be OK,” he said. “Hendrickson is such a good team, they’re team oriented and they play hard … we knew they would come out and press and try and score.”
Summers’ second goal off a free kick, this time from about 30 yards away with 24 minutes left, the capped the win. HP has outscored its five playoff opponents by a combined 18-0.