PFLUGERVILLE — The margin of victory was slight, but for Hendrickson senior Madison Kusano, the accomplishment and memories were so much greater than the 1-0 win over the Round Rock Dragons on March 10.


Standing along the sideline of her home stadium for the final time, Kusano, one of seven seniors on the Hawk roster, reflected on the last four years at Hendrickson.


“I was born and raised here,” Kusano said. “I’ve grown up watching this high school team, and I was lucky enough to be on the state-winning team my freshman year (in 2017). It really is something that helped me grow as a person. It’s not about me, it’s for the team, the fans, it’s for all of the school, it’s for everyone that’s ever been at this school. It’s amazing.”


Isabella Cruz scored the lone goal, and Naia Fulton-Jones had seven saves in the victory. Despite the win, the Hawks were eliminated from playoff contention because of McNeil’s win over Cedar Ridge, but head coach Angela Fulton said breaking a three-year losing streak to Round Rock was especially sweet.


“We were coming in just looking for at least a point, having it be senior night and having the seniors go off with the first win against Round Rock is the sweetest gift,” Fulton said.


The Hawks improved to 5-7-3 in District 13-6A play while Round Rock (15-2-2 overall) fell to 11-3-1 in district play. Round Rock coach Chad Aldrich hopes his team can rebound in Friday’s season finale before the bi-district playoffs kick off.


“The girls know what they need to do,” Round Rock head coach Chad Aldrich said. “We’re super talented, but at the end of the day, one word, it’s energy. We played OK soccer, but we didn’t come out playing winning soccer.”


The Hendrickson seniors were honored during a pregame ceremony on Senior Night, but it was a junior that made the biggest offensive play of the match as Isabella Cruz was able to pry the ball away from a Dragon defender at midfield, dribble and blast in the opening score from 15 yards out to put the Hawks ahead 1-0 just 3 minutes, 37 seconds into the match.


Fulton said that the early goal required a strategic balancing act.


“You don’t want to stop attacking, because they’re just going to ram it down your throat the whole night,” Fulton said. “It’s coaching that balance between being really safe, but also overlapping runs from the back.”


Fulton-Jones turned away every Round Rock scoring chance in the opening half, and made some stellar plays to preserve the goose egg on the score board.


Tatiana Jerman had the first quality scoring chance for the Dragons, taking the ball on the left side of the net, but Fulton-Jones challenged the shot attempt and forced Jerman into a difficult shot at the far corner of the net which missed wide.


The best Dragon scoring opportunity came midway though the first half as Mary Waiwaiole aimed a high, arching shot at the net that was stopped by Fulton-Jones as was the rebound attempt by Alycia Buenaventura.


“I would even argue that it was all 11 players playing defense,” Kusano said. “Naia and our back four, Cassandra (Nguyen), Delaney (Lyle), McKenna (Richard) and (Olivia) Fish, they played fantastic. I also think it was also all of us stepping back and going we have 10 minutes left on this clock, we’re going to win this game.”


Round Rock had its share of near misses in the second half, and Fulton-Jones saved all three shots she faced, including two in the final 12 minutes of game time.


The Hawks close out the season at McNeil on Friday while the Dragons host Vista Ridge.


“We need to tighten off our possessional play, we need to tighten up our off-ball movement,” Aldrich said. “Things that we were doing really well in the middle of district play, we got away from it a little bit.”