Lady Raiders edge Heritage, advance to regional tournament

MIDLOTHIAN – The Rider Lady Raiders are returning to the regional tournament for the first time since 2018.

The Lady Raiders earned that opportunity with a 1-0 victory against Midlothian Heritage in a Region I-5A quarterfinal matchup Friday. It was the 18th consecutive victory for Rider (25-3-2) which draws either El Paso Andress or El Paso Del Valle in the Region I-5A semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium.

“Tonight was all about heart,” Rider coach Carl Wiersema said. “We didn’t play our best, but we found a way to win. It just shows how special this group is.”

The lone goal scored Friday didn’t come off anyone’s foot. Instead, it was Kendall Toliver using her powerful handspring throw in to send the ball bounding toward the goal.

Heritage’s goalie got a hand on the ball, tipping it into the net with 4:59 remaining in the match. Rider’s defense and goalkeeper Allie Vasquez made sure the lead held up.

Coaches praised the defensive play of Madison Bobbitt, Bella Pillow, Alyssa Canales and Brenna McLoughlin, helping preserve the shutout and send Rider to its 13th regional tournament appearance in program history.

“It’s been too long – five years,” Wiersema said. “We’ve had teams capable of getting there. That’s the way it goes. It’s such a hard thing to do. I’m just happy we controlled our fate.”

This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Rider vs. Midlothian Heritage high school girls soccer playoff score