In a cold afternoon in Tonkawa and in front of a great crowd the Lady Mavs took on the national runner up and best team in the nation in the 2017 season: Tyler JC.
When he was questioned about his reduced roster due the injuries his players sustained in the Regional Championship last Sunday coach Castillo said: "We have 3 players that are going to be out for this game that had been playing and helping the team regularly. (One of them is starter midfielder Rachel Brantley also starter defender Daisy Brown and midfielder Mayra Vega). We know we are going to play the best team in the nation but I believe in my team and their potential. We are going to go out there and try to play good and spectacular soccer, we are going to be agressive in the attack and will try to win this game for those that can't play" he added.
And the team did what his coach said. Even though they were doubled in numbers of subsitutes and international players the Lady Mavs were trailing a 1-0 at the 16th minute but after that took control of the game in every sector of the field. They did what many teams haven't been able to do; they dominated Tyler. Pressing them against their own half and created several good chances to score. Specifically 2 great shots by freshman Megan Deshazo that went just a little too wide and also a great save Tyler's keeper had to do to a shot by Megan Mayfield after a beautiful combination of 6-7 passes the Lady Mavs connected. Before the first half was over Gifty Ayew Asare had also a chance to score a goal but her shot went over the goal. It was so much the frustration from Tyler's side that his coach got a yellow card for protesting to the referee. The Mavs defense worked hard lead by captain Kariss Dunson (So), Aubrey Welker (Fr), Morgan Medina (So), Marybel Garcia(Fr). The midfield looked great when Rebekah Brantley played as both attacking and defensive midfielder, Jaycie Calderon, Denise Diaz and specially with Kayla Mireles working her skills in the midfield as well.
The second half started just like the first half ended. A Northern team pressing high and attacking and it was only 3 minutes in the seond half that Megan Mayfield would have received a pass from Rebekah Brantley and give a perfect ball to Kayla Mireles on the right flank, which Mireles served a perfect cross for the arrival of Gifty Ayew Asare and scored her 27th goal in the season.
It was an emotional goal specially for everything that the team has been going through in the past week. Asare ran to the bench to celebrate with her teammates but a special embrace with injured Brantley was the highlight of the celebration.
After that Northern fell into an emotional lapse that cost them to leave Tyler's player wide open in the right flank for her to cross a ball and put the 1-2. That moment hit the team hard and even though they started to work their way up again it was noticible that having less players to replace the needed positions was going to take a final toll on the team. And 16 minutes after that Northern would have a lethal turnover right outisde their own box that Tyler's player would take advantage of and with an amazing upper 90 shot would scored the third and final goal and that would end Northern's run this season.
Coach Castillo: "I'm extremely proud of my girls, they fought hard but they also played amazing soccer today. We knew that having important players out for this game was going to be a probelm for us but the team stepped it up and played great, but at the end they got tired and it's hard to compete against a team like Tyler with a reduced roster". "Not many believed on this team and group of girls but from August I have been saying that we have amazing talent and potential and today they proved it. In all honesty this is the best that we have played Tyler in the 2 years I have been coaching the team although the scoreboard doesn't reflect it the team played at moments brilliant futbol. This leaves me with a full heart because we ended our season on a high note on our performance and we will build from this for next season. We are extremely excited for the 2018 class, it's going to be a great one too."
Final record 16-2-1
Coach Castillo's record as Head Coach: 35-4-2
Gifty Ayew Asare scored a total of 27 goals this season and 50 in her career as a Lady Mav to put her as the second best in the history of the program.
GOALS (TOP FIVE):
Gifty Asare (27)
Megan Deshazo (10)
Aubrey Welker (9)
Kayla Mireles (9)
Rebekah Brantley (6)
ASSISTS (TOP FIVE):
Rachel Brantley (10)
Kayla Mireles (7)
Denise Diaz (7)
Gifty Asare (7)
Megan Mayfield (6)