It was a painful finish for the Wakeland boys soccer team Saturday, but after the 2-1 loss to El Paso Bel Air in the 5A championship game, there was time to reflect on the Wolverines’ amazing run.
Four straight state tournament appearances. Two state championships. Two finishes as state runner-up. It’s a truly incredible accomplishment for a program that must survive one of the best soccer districts in the state just to get to the playoffs.
“I was proud of our effort,” Wakeland coach Andy Holt said Saturday. “We had lots of opportunities, but Bel Air is a great team.”
The 5A final was a matchup of two great teams, and both teams set up some good scoring opportunities. Bel Air (28-1) scored 11 minutes into the match, but Wakeland’s Alex Wing evened it at 1-1 midway through the first half. The senior forward dribbled past a defender on the right side of the goal and zipped a 10-yard shot into the left side of the net.
Goalkeeper Jacob Stanfield made eight saves for Wakeland (21-3-5), but Bel Air took the lead again on a goal with 17 minutes left in the match. The Wolverines had several scoring chances after that, but the ball always sailed high, wide or into the arms of the Bel Air goalkeeper.
Wakeland was trying to become the first boys soccer team to win three straight state titles since Plano did it from 1991 to ’93. The Wolverines also won a state title in 2010.
Holt, who finished up his third season as Wakeland coach, praised his players for their hard work and told them not to hang their heads after the final match.
“Seniors, I love you,” he said. “You gave me three seasons and the program four.”