The playoff matchup was seemingly unavoidable. Midlothian Heritage and Kennedale were destined to meet in the 4A girls' soccer playoffs.
Two years ago, the Jaguars fell to Kennedale 12-0 just three matches before a second-round playoff exit. It was the first year for varsity soccer at Midlothian Heritage.
The Lady Kats then ousted the Jaguars from the postseason in the regional quarterfinals, 2-1, one season later.
The two teams returned to the scene of the 2017 crime Friday night — RL Anderson Stadium in Mansfield. And this time, it was Midlothian Heritage who walked off a winner, 3-1.
The regional quarterfinal victory is the first in program history and came after about a 20-minute blackout with just a few minutes left to play.
Before ever commenting on the play of the Jaguars, Heritage head girls’ soccer coach Gerald Slovacek praised the Kennedale Lady Kats soccer program for setting “the standard for 4A soccer ever since they [the UIL] started the division.”
“We give all of the respect to Kennedale, first of all. We knew it was a big monkey on our back to be able to beat Kennedale,” he added. “Last year we came really close, losing 2-1 in the last few minutes of the regional quarterfinal game. The girls came out tonight and I thought they played their hearts out. We knew it was going to be a battle.
"I knew the girls were ready for the game and I knew that they were ready to come out and play Kennedale as tough as we needed to do to get the win."
Katie Greer netted her 21st and 22nd goals of the season in the victory, while Tori Needels assisted on the own goal by the Lady Kats.
Freshmen Rachel Allen and Hannah Dorsey assisted on the pair of Greer goals.
Megan McCarthy recorded her 15th shutout in goal on the season. Shylar Ray relieved the sophomore goalkeeper to finish out the clean sheet.
Despite having outscored their opposition 119-14 on the season, Slovacek was adamant that the Jaguars still have progress to be made before a regional semifinal match against reigning champion Stephenville.
Slovacek said the Jaguars needed to do a better job possessing the ball early, which he felt they did not do Friday against Kennedale.
"We kind of started to kick the ball downfield at times and that is not the type of soccer that I like to play. The second half we kind of settled it down and really started possessing and doing some things that I have been talking to them about," he explained. "And we ended up with some goals. Overall, our performance was really good and I thought we played much better in the second half."
LAST TIME OUT
The Jaguar girls defeated Celina, 2-nil, in the 4A Region I area championship Tuesday night at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts and Athletic Center.
Katie Greer scored both goals for the Jaguars on assists by Rachel Allen and Brittiney Gardner. Megan McCarthy and Shylar Ray recorded the clean sheet in goal, with McCarthy earning the shutout victory.
The Jaguars are now 25-3-1 on the season.
Heritage faces defending state champion Stephenville at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts and Athletic Center. The Jaguars previously defeated the Honeybees, 1-nil, in the championship of the second annual Heritage Frostbite Tournament.
Fred Phipps/Midlothian Mirror contributed to this report.