HS Girls Soccer Playoffs: Lady Highlanders Thrash Spring in the Opening Round of the UIL Playoffs

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 03/25/2024


SPRING, TX -- The Woodlands Lady Highlanders (16-6-2) opened their run in the state playoffs with a 9-0 victory over the Spring Lady Lions (6-11-5) at Planet Ford Stadium.

It took little time for the Lady Highlanders to get to work in building a sizable lead that would maintain the team during their time on the field.

Through the first ten minutes of play, The Woodlands attack burst through Spring’s defense and seared three goals into the back of the net.

Spring failed to aid their effort in attempting a comeback with their style of play. Sluggish passes and an overall lack of communication meant players were frequently out of position, and passes were easily intercepted by the Lady Highlanders.

Another Woodlands goal in the sixteenth minute put the team up 4-0 before a wave of substitutes put fresh legs out for an already dominating team.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Lady Highlander Head Coach Claire Eiteljorge spoke on the importance of involving as many players as possible during the playoffs.

“I definitely want to prioritize all of the girls getting on, especially the seniors,” said Eiteljorge. “It was exciting to have that game time and shake the dust off and get back into game mode.”

No signs of rust showed through for the Lady Highlanders, who continued to control every aspect of the game.

Aspen Butaud’s sixteenth-minute goal also necessitated substitutes from the Spring sideline, with a heightened focus on bringing in defensive subs. The change made little difference, as The Woodlands tacked on two more goals before half and ended the first forty minutes with a 6-0 lead.

With Spring failing to put a single shot on target during the first half, the Lady Highlanders substituted in senior keeper Caroline Kato to finish the remaining time and keep the clean sheet.

Additional subs from the Lady Highlander sideline saw a minimal decrease in production as the leaders on the field maintained their grasp on the game.

“We have some really great senior leadership this year,” said Eiteljorge. “It came down to asking them to communicate and lead on the field. Asking them to possess and control the game in a positive way that is fun for us and shows good sportsmanship.”

Spring’s suffering was prolonged with three more goals coming from the Lady Highlander throughout the second half.

Each shot seemed to come from increasingly impressive situations. Greater distance was put behind Lady Highlander shots, flashier passes, and more set pieces all played into preparing The Woodlands for its next round of play.

“I wanted them to keep the pace of play really high so we can be ready for what’s to come,” said Eiteljorge. “It was keeping the pace of the ball moving quickly, but to also score some pretty goals and some purposeful goals.”

In the mix of the oppressive gameplay put on by the Lady Highlanders, a brief moment of positivity shined for Spring. A breakaway spurred on by a through ball led to the team’s first shot on goal in the 68’, but it was easily handled by the patient arms of Kato.

The final whistle sounded and a delighted cheer rang from The Woodlands’ sideline at the news of their 9-0 victory that pushes them on to the Area Round of the UIL playoffs.

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