Underdog Panthers Earn Historic State Title

Audrey Bryant, Ursuline continue soccer dynasty with 30th TAPPS crown

By Mike Waters

Parish Episcopal put an exclamation point on a remarkable, and historical, season with the school’s first TAPPS state championship.

The Panthers topped district rival Plano John Paul II 46-42 on March 2 in Waco to complete an underdog run to the title in just their second state tournament appearance.

“These guys play with each other and for each other,” said Parish head coach Ahmad Ajami. “They are gonna remember this experience the rest of their lives.”

Four years ago, winning a championship seemed like a dream, before Ajami came in and changed the team culture. “To see how far this program has come is just incredible,” he said.

In the 2020-21 season, Ajami’s first as Parish head coach, the Panthers finished the year on a 14-game skid. The next year produced an 18-11 overall mark, but no district victories. Parish took another step last year, with four district wins and 22 overall, qualifying for the playoffs.

Harris Dar, the only returning starter from a year ago, paced the Panthers with 14 points in the championship game.

“To see how far this program has come since my freshman year, it is unbelievable,” said Dar, who surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this season. “Stuck with the program.  This team knows how to compete. This is just so amazing to finish my career here like this.”

Sophomore twins Antoine and Armon Almuttar finished with 12 and eight points, respectively, and combined for 10 of the team’s 12 points in the decisive fourth period.

Bears go back-to-back in soccer

The Ursuline soccer dynasty reached a new milestone on March 6, rolling past rival Bishop Lynch to claim the 30th TAPPS state championship in program history.

Ursuline allowed just one goal in four playoff wins on the way to another soccer championship. (PHOTO: Thao Nguyen)

Audrey Bryant scored a hat trick during a 4-0 victory for the Bears, who earned their second consecutive 6A title and finished the season on a 22-game winning streak.

“Unbelievable,” said Ursuline head coach Darrin Hedges, who was describing both the team’s accomplishment and star player Bryant’s outstanding performance.

With 11:13 left in the second half, Bryant notched her third goal, an angled roller from the left side. That score gave Bryant a school record-tying 103 career goals, and 57 this season.

Ursuline allowed just one goal in four playoff wins. An 11-0 rout of Tomball Concordia was followed by a 5-0 shutout of Fort Worth Nolan in the quarterfinals. The Bears earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over district opponent Parish Episcopal in the semifinals.

Bryant, Makenzie Majors, Stella Weissmueller, and Isabella Zanoni were selected to the 12-player all-tournament team for Ursuline. After the title game, Bryant was already looking forward to next season.

“Now we go for a three-peat,” she said.

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.