Commentary

Ursuline topples No. 1 Coppell

Updated: January 9, 2010, 2:20 AM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Perhaps Ursuline Academy (Dallas, Texas) simply has Coppell's (Texas) number. Or, perhaps, the unfortunate result is a good sign for Coppell.

Only time will tell.

However, for now, FAB 50 No. 4 Ursuline's 3-2 girls' soccer victory over No. 1 Coppell at the Red Bull Nolan Showcase on Friday will alter the top of the FAB 50 rankings next week. Ursuline improves to 10-0 while Coppell is 0-1. Last year, Coppell lost to Ursuline yet went on to win the Texas 5A state title.

Sophomore Jana Jeffrey, already considered a rising star in recruiting circles, emerged as the game's star, scoring twice for Ursuline, which never trailed in the match. Jeffrey put Ursuline ahead 1-0 early in the match and later snapped a 2-2 tie with a rocket shot from 20 yards out for the game-winner.

"I had the ball and I thought they fouled me, and pushed me over so I was on the ground," Jeffrey said of the events leading to the match-winning strike. "[Coppell] kicked the ball out and I received it, trapped it, shot it."

"Jana's a special type of player," Ursuline coach Jamie Cantrell said. "Jana has always been very comfortable with [older sister and Yale commit] Juliann. And with Juliann not here today, Jana said, 'O.K. it's my time to step up.' You could almost see her evolve."

Ursuline led 1-0 and 2-1, the second goal coming from Emily Hoffend. But each time the Dallas private school power surged ahead, Coppell freshman Kayla Peterson responded to tie the match.

"As a spectator, I'm sure it was fun to watch," Cantrell said. "The back-and-forth play was evident of two very high caliber teams. I think we had some mental lapses, no discredit to them, where [Coppell] came at us. The way the girls responded to that, I'm very pleased. It shows their character."

Although the Ursuline vs. Coppell match, which started at 7:30 a.m., kicked off the day's round of 12 matches, it was the headline contest. Below are highlights from the rest of the day's action.

SCOREBOARD: Friday's results: FAB 50 No. 4 Ursuline (Texas) 3, No. 1 Coppell (Texas) 2; No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) 1, Murrieta Valley (Calif.) 0; No. 41 Nolan Catholic (Texas) 4, Taft (Calif.) 2; Colleyville Heritage (Texas) 3, Midland (Texas) 1; Murrieta Valley (Calif.) 1, Plano East (Texas) 0; Klein Oak (Texas) 4, Odessa (Texas) 0; No. 30 Clear Lake (Texas) 1, Plano West (Texas) 1 (tie); No. 3 Boyd (Texas) 1, No. 42 Pearce (Texas) 0; Tyler Lee (Texas) 1, San Angelo Central (Texas) 0; Southlake Carroll (Texas) 4, Hockaday (Texas) 2; Amarillo (Texas) 2, Antonian (Texas) 0.

A TRUE FIRST: St. Thomas Aquinas coach Carlos Giron has just about seen and done it all in 28 years of high school coaching -- then came Friday. Giron had coached 717 high school matches prior to Friday, but Aquinas' 1-0 victory over Murrieta Valley marked the first time Aquinas had played a regular-season match indoors. Cold weather in the Dallas-Fort Worth area led the Nolan Showcase organizers to seek shelter in the form of the Sam Baugh Indoor Facility on the Texas Christian University campus. Ten of Friday's 12 matches were played on indoor turf on a pitch just slightly smaller than the regulation outdoor field.

BACK TO THE BOOKS: Ursuline players had little time to celebrate the team's victory. Following the standard postgame ritual, the players boarded a bus bound for school. The 7:30 a.m. start allowed for the game to wrap up by 9 a.m. Cantrell said the team would make it back to Ursuline in time for three of the day's four class periods. Coppell players, meanwhile, headed to IHOP.

MISSING ONE: Ursuline played without senior Juliann Jeffrey, Jana's older sister. The Yale commit has a U.S. Soccer youth national team commitment next week that will take her out of school for several days. Cantrell said a decision was reached that Jeffrey would skip the Nolan Showcase in order to stay in school in trade for missing school next week.

BRAVING THE COLD: While 20 teams played indoors Friday, Murrieta Valley, Plano East, Clear Lake and Plano West were the only teams that competed outdoors at the Nolan Showcase. Meredith Mogle scored on a corner kick in the final minute allowing Plano West to draw with Clear Lake 1-1. Brittney Irland netted the lone goal in Murrieta Valley's 1-0 victory over Plano East.

TOP SCORERS: Amy Eitzen, Amarillo; Emily Jenkins, Southlake Carroll; Emily Grider, Nolan Catholic; Jana Jeffrey, Ursuline and Kayla Peterson, Coppell each scored two goals during Friday's matches. All performances came in victories except for Peterson's.

SURPRISE OF THE DAY: Friday's round of matches were the first full games of the event and there were no significant upsets, based on FAB 50 rankings  even though No. 4 Ursuline edged No. 1 Coppell in a meeting of evenly matched teams. However, Plano West, which was tabbed as the sleeper of the tournament, did tie No. 30 Clear Lake on a last-minute goal, which stands as Friday's biggest surprise.