Lampasas proved bigger is not necessarily better.
Although Class 5A Belton continued its reign as the area’s top program, the Lady Badgers established themselves as an upper echelon program, repeating as District 34-4A champions before making their third consecutive run to the sectional round of the playoffs.
It was the deepest any area team went this season, and it earned Lampasas three spots on the Killeen Daily Herald All-Area Girls Soccer Team.
Second only to Belton, which produced seven first-team selections, the Lady Badgers, who compete as a member of Class 3A in all other team sports, are represented by a pair of seniors and perhaps the most dominant player in program history.
A repeat recipient of the district MVP award, junior center midfielder Analise Watson led Lampasas offensively, scoring 31 of the team’s 91 goals to help the Lady Badgers finish with a 19-11 overall record.
Teammates Maria Salinas and Bailey Hilgenberg end their high school careers on the first team after both were members of Lampasas’ two-win season as freshmen. Salinas, a forward, scored 21 goals for the Lady Badgers, and center midfielder Hilgenberg finished with seven goals this year.
While small-town Lampasas is developing into a big-time power, Belton is already a proven force with Bailee Boren, Jamie Brown, Madi Goldston and Ashley Winkler each landing on the all-area team after helping the Lady Tigers win a share of the District 8-5A championship in 2014. The title was Belton’s 10th consecutive.
The Lady Tigers dominated in district play, outscoring their opponents 81-2 en route to a 13-1 record and a share of the title with Waco Midway. After beating Mansfield Timberview 4-1 in the Region I-5A playoffs, Belton finished the season with a 17-2-3 overall record with Boren, Brown, Goldston and Winkler each being named all-district first-team selections.
Although Lampasas and Belton occupy a majority of the spots on the all-area team, Harker Heights goalkeeper Caitlin Dumond worked her way onto the list following an impressive junior campaign.
Dumond started all 23 games during a record-setting season and was named District 8-5A Goalkeeper of the Year after setting single-season program records with 231 saves, 46 goals against and eight shutouts in addition to helping Harker Heights reach the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
Killeen and Ellison were also represented on the all-area team.
Angelina Arreaga served as the Lady Kangaroos captain and was a Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Academic All-State selection as a midfielder and defender. She finished the season with two assists, helping Killeen beat Ellison 3-2 in the season finale before being placed on the all-district first team.
Alyssa Conde had to play more of a center-midfielder role for the Lady Eagles this season, finishing with 15 goals and 11 assists. She will play college soccer at St. Edwards University in Austin.
Sophomore center midfielder China Saxton rounds out the list after helping Salado reach the playoffs, while also being placed on the all-district first team.