For the sixth time in six playoff matches, the Aledo Bearcats have won a match by a goal.
Kyle Maurer’s first-half goal stood as Aledo turned away a frantic second-half push by Houston Wisdom as the Bearcats held on to take a 1-0 win Thursday afternoon in a boys’ Class 5A state semifinal match at Birkelbach Field at Georgetown High School.
The Bearcats will advance to the state championship match for the first time since 2005. Aledo is seeking its first-ever boys’ state championship in soccer.
Aledo will face the winner of the Pharr Valley View/Frisco Wakeland match at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Georgetown for the boys’ Class 5A state championship.
In the first portion of the opening half both teams had excellent opportunities to score.
Aledo forward Maurer missed a one-on-one opportunity on a breakaway as his 15-yard shot flew wide.
Aledo goalkeeper Konrad Garbowski turned back two Wisdom shots from 20 yards on diving saves, and he stopped another Generals’ scoring chance with a jump save.
With 14:58 remaining in the first half, Maurer got a second opportunity, and this time he made it count.
Taking a pass on the left side from Noah Knesek, Maurer beat Wisdom ‘keeper Dennis Cuellar with a hard, low shot that snuck inside the right post to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead.
Wisdom failed on two scoring opportunities late in the half – the first on a 30-yard shot that hit the cross bar and bounced out of bounds, and a second on a chip shot from four yards in front that barely sailed over the cross bar.
The score remained 1-0 at the half.
In the second half, Wisdom, who outshot Aledo 19-8 for the match, possessed the ball for most of the half to create several scoring opportunities.
Wisdom had two header opportunities in front of the net, but both flew harmlessly over the cross bar.
With 12:10 left to play, a Wisdom forward elevated and directed a pass with a header toward the net, but Garbowski came up with a jump save.
Two minutes later, Wisdom saw its best scoring opportunity when a shot that deflected off the cross bar fell five feet in front of the net, but the rebound shot was smothered by Garbowski.
Wisdom had two more scoring opportunities in front of the net, but each shot sailed wide.
Aledo, now playing in defensive mode, kept the Generals away from the net in the last five minutes to preserve the victory.