Lady Lions fight to stay in playoffs
By Alonzo Garza
The Lady Lions fought hard against third-ranked Elgin, 25 mph winds and a 30-degree wind chill factor at Lion Stadium on Monday, March 3. The Lady Lions kept Elgin from scoring by dominating the field for a 0-0 tie at the end of the extremely chilly game. The Lady Lions also tied 0-0 against Manor on Friday, Feb. 29, knocking the La
dy Mustangs out of playoff contention.
Lady Lions vs. Elgin
With winds cutting across the Lion Stadium field and the bitter cold keeping everyone jumping for warmth, the Lady Lions looked right at home if not in their element.
“We looked awesome tonight,” coach Colleen Johnston said. “Elgin didn’t know what hit them. They were on their heels the whole time, trying to keep up with us.”
Monday night’s game was kicked off by a brief recognition ceremony for the five Lady Lion seniors. Brianna Hinnen-kamp, Naomi Oliva, Jaime Ruiz, Erica West and Lindy Chamberlain are all graduating this year. Parents greeted their respective senior with hugs, kisses and flowers before joining them in the line up as their names were announced. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the parents returned to the stands and the teams hit the field.
The Lady Lions outnumbered Elgin 3-1 in shots attempted at the goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsie Briscoe controlled the game’s tempo by rolling the ball back out instead of kicking it into the gusty wind.
“Briscoe rolled the ball out to [Erica] West,” Johnston said. “West found the strong middle force of Ruiz and Meredith Moore and they either dropped it or crossed it to keep the ball away from Elgin. It was a pretty smart, strategic move.”
Some rough play was evident toward the end of the match. Both Chamberlain and West took some hard tumbles. Chamberlain was hit from behind on a breakaway to the goal and West was thrown into the air before landing hard on her sternum. No cards were given to anyone on either questionable hit.
“These girls are so classy,” Johnston said of her team. “You just can’t get them down. They gave their all. We were the best team out there tonight. Each of the seniors played extremely well. I can’t believe their time here is almost done. They are going to be sorely missed. They are truly a strong, strong element to this team and a big reason for our success.”
Lady Lions vs. Manor
The Lady Lions continued with their tough-playing streak on Friday, keeping the Lady Mustangs from continuing on in the playoffs.
“These girls have been getting better and better with each game,” Johnston said. “We keep surprising our opponents, who don’t recognize us from our first round of play. I love it.”
The Lady Lions lost 6-1 to Manor at the end of January and have since made several adjustments to their offense and defense. Some opposing teams seem to be having a hard time with the adjustments.
Chamberlain missed an entire game because of the Caldwell County Livestock Show and Briscoe missed the beginning of a match for the same reason. Sophomore Christina Knudsen filled in for Briscoe.
“Christina did an awesome job for us as keeper,” Johnston said. “In her first ever start, she had two great saves. She has some natural goalkeeping abilities we didn’t know she had.”
For the most part, the Lady Lions dominated the game. They took several shots that almost made it into the goal. Hinnenkamp did a good job of attacking Manor’s weak defense as a sweeper. Her persistent attacks allowed Moore, Ruiz and Yiovana Gonzales to control the ball and tempo. Oliva hit the top post one last time with less than five minutes to play adding to the numerous close shots during the night. The game ended at 0-0.
The Lady Lions traveled to Kyle to face Hays on Friday, March 7 and played against Del Valle at home at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11. Check out next week’s Post-Register for scores and highlights.
See you at the game.