Second-ranked Connally boys soccer team prepare for Class 5A state semifinal

The four-day UIL state soccer tournament kicked off April 12 in Georgetown.

The second-ranked Connally boys play their Class 5A state semifinal Thursday, April 13, and will take some high hopes into that game.

For the second time in his 12 years at Connally, boys soccer head coach Ryan Ford is taking his Cougars to the state's final four.

"It's just very exciting for us. We worked really hard for this to get this far and hopefully win the finals," said Terry Win, Connally senior defender.

"Whenever it happened the first time, I was younger in my career. You never really think lightning will strike twice afterward," said Ford.

But it did for the Cougars, who've outscored their playoff opponents 16 to 4 on their run to the Class 5A state semifinals.

"These guys play some of the most enjoyable soccer to watch I've ever seen for any high school team," Ford said. "They play as hard as they can. They're quick. They're technical. They defend. And when you put all those things together, it's really hard for other teams to stop us."

Those top skills are something the Cougars hope won't change for the next two games.

Speaking of change, after their third round win, the players decided to do something a little different. After they punched their ticket to state, Coach Ford got on board with them.

"We all decided to paint our hair, either bleach it or get highlights, which we did. And it was a fun idea," said Alexander Rodriguez-Diaz, Connally junior defender.

"Ironically enough, the last time we went, the guys did the same thing. And I was getting married around that time, and couldn't commit to it," said Ford.

"I was surprised. I was like what, I was just like surprised he actually did it," said Rodriguez-Diaz.

"You think about all the things you would've done, could've done for years. And you get an opportunity to go back. An opportunity to try all those things out, and so far it's been working," said Ford.

Connally plays top-ranked Frisco Lone Star on Thursday, April 13.

Also in the playoffs representing the Central Texas area are the Dripping Springs boys, Class 6A, and the Georgetown and Westwood girls.