With so many offensive weapons at his disposal, Girls Preparatory School soccer coach Patrick Winecoff doesn't look to Myra Brock for goal production.
But the senior defender showed she's got some scoring ability of her own Tuesday night at home against rival Baylor.
In a scoreless match midway through the first half, Brock launched a shot from 35 yards out that trickled through the grasp of Baylor goalkeeper Peyton Randolph, giving the Bruisers the only goal they would need on the way to a 3-0 victory.
"Myra's not one of our goal scorers, but she has put in a lot of effort on her shot," Winecoff said. "That's a shot she wouldn't have taken in previous years. It's not the easiest shot in the world to handle, and she thought she had a goal shot so she took it. She's works so hard defensively, so I was excited to see her contribute on the offensive side."
After receiving a pass from Megan Pfaffle, Brock recognized the open lane in front of her before unleashing her long-range blast.
"I just decided I should score when I saw the opening. When I went to shoot, I thought maybe this is it, and it was a huge momentum boost for us," Brock said.
The Bruisers (11-1-3) seemed to relax after Brock's tally, and they doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Ashley Grant found the back of the net on a crossing pass from dynamic eighth-grader Kennedy Ball.
The GPS defensive effort frustrated Baylor's ability to find any space offensively in the first half.
"We lost the midfield battle and they controlled it," Baylor coach Curtis Blair said. "That first goal was a momentum killer, but that's life. A forward can make a thousand mistakes and no one notices, but a goalkeeper makes one and everyone sees it. At the end of the day you have to deal with it, and it's how we respond that matters."
With the two-goal advantage, Winecoff challenged his players to maintain their offensive pressure at halftime.
"We've been in that situation before and walked away with a tie," he said. "Curtis is a good coach, so we acted like it was still 0-0. We were ready to keep the offensive pressure on them."
Baylor (12-4-2) was able to gain more traction on the offensive end in the second half, but GPS keeper Kaedra Thorstenson was perfect in saving all five shots from the Red Raiders.
"Give them credit. GPS played well and they created chances," Blair said. "In the second half we were going to throw numbers forward and I thought we did a better job possessing the ball, but we couldn't get shots."
Anna Croxall scored the second-half goal for the Bruisers, assisted by Sydney Morris with 11:54 remaining.
"Obviously it's a big win because they're a big rival, and they bring out the best in us," Winecoff said. "We enjoy preparing for them, and for us this time of year it's a great match to get ready for the postseason. It's always special."
Lane Lawrence, who missed the past four weeks recovering from a foot injury, relished closing her senior season with a win over Baylor.
"It's huge, and you can't even explain it how important this win is for us seniors. To play our rivals and walk away with a win, we're so happy," Lawrence said.
While disappointed with the loss during a season in which the Lady Red Raiders have lost two starters to torn ACLs among a wave of other injuries, Blair was upbeat about Baylor's quest to defend their state title.
"The problems we had tonight, those are all things we can fix," he said. "Now we start a brand-new season. Everyone is 0-0-0. We're frustrated now, but with senior leadership we'll put it behind us and look forward to the next phase."
With a win Thursday in its regular-season finale, GPS will secure the top seed in the region for the Division II-AA playoffs and will earn an opening-round bye. Baylor is the fifth seed.
Contact Paul Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.