Collierville Lady Dragons look to take down Houston Saturday for state title

Author: Jeff Ireland, jireland@colliervilleherald.net

The Collierville and Houston girls' soccer programs have a combined 30 state tournament appearances. The other six schools that were in the Class AAA state tournament with them this week in Murfreesboro have 26. 

That puts in perspective just how dominant the two programs, which are located just nine miles apart, have been.

So it makes sense that Houston and Collierville will play for the state title tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. on the stadium field at Richard Siegel Soccer complex.

Considering Houston (21-2) beat Collierville (19-3) in the title game last year, the two teams split two games earlier this season and they have been rivals for 30 years, everybody knows the stakes.

The two teams were off today after winning quarterfinal and semifinal games Wednesday and Thursday.

Collierville head coach Gareth Munro, who is in his first season with the school, said he had no plans to talk to his team today about the importance of tomorrow's game on their day off.

"I don't want to put any added pressure on them, for sure," he said.

Both teams are full of experienced players who will play soccer in college.

"I don't think there's much difference between the teams talent-wise," Munro said. "I genuinely believe that. I think we're pretty even."

The biggest difference, however, is that Houston has won three of the past five state titles and was ranked as the nation's best high school team last season. Houston has won eight state titles. Collierville's lone state title came in 2005.

"I think the big difference is that they've been to the final and won it," Munro said. "It's tough to break winning habits."

Houston trailed Clarksville 2-0 at the half of its sectional game last week before coming back to win. Ravenwood jumped out to a 1-0 lead in Thursday's semifinal before Houston stormed back to a 4-1 win.

Collierville has not trailed since losing to Houston 3-1 on Oct. 3.

"I've had a couple of people up here ask me who I think the best teams are," Munro said. "In my opinion, Houston is still the team to beat and I believe that. That's what I'll be telling the kids. If you win the state championship and beat Houston you have really earned it."

Collierville Lady Dragons stop Houston, will play for state tournament berth Saturday

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Author: Jeff Ireland, jireland@colliervilleherald.net

Considering how strong the Collierville Lady Dragon soccer program has been for years and the team finished as state runnerup last season, it's hard to call Thursday's 2-1 win over Houston a huge upset.

However, it was a surprise to most people outside of the Collierville program. It was the Lady Dragons' first region title in more than 10 years and Houston, which has won four state titles since 2010, was the reason it had been so long.

Collierville (15-3) will host Henry County Saturday at 1 p.m. in a sectional game. The winner advances to the Class AAA state tournament next week in Murfreesboro. The season is over for the loser.

The Lady Dragons, which lost 3-1 to Houston on Oct. 3, got a goal from Sydney Davis with two minutes left in the game to break a 1-1 tie. Elizabeth Slavinsky put Collierville ahead 1-0 midway through the second half before Houston's Molly Rose tied it with a goal to set up the dramatic finish.

Houston, which beat Collierville in the state title game last season, travels to Clarksville Saturday for a 6 p.m. sectional game.

The state tournament begins Wednesday.