WACO — Jenna Jenkins was a sophomore when Lampasas finished the season with only two victories.
Her high school career ended in the third round of the playoffs Friday.
But Lampasas’ only senior knows she helped create a foundation for the future. For the first time in the playoffs, Lampasas fell into a hole, and the Lady Badgers could not crawl out as College Station earned a 2-1 victory in the Region III-4A sectional playoff match at Waco ISD Stadium.
“Just making the playoffs was a huge step, but making to sectionals is just amazing,” Jenkins said. “Now, a lot more people in Lampasas know about Lady Badger soccer. It really does (feel good to help turn the program around).”
Lampasas junior Bailey Hilgenberg echoed her teammate's sentiments.
“Lampasas soccer doesn’t have much support,” Hilgenberg said. “With us going so far, I have people coming up to me and congratulating me, wishing us luck, coming to our games after never coming before. The further we go, the more support from the community we get.”
The loss marked the second consecutive season the Lady Badgers (18-9-2) were eliminated in the third round of the playoffs under head coach Tracy Brantley, who took over the team two seasons ago and led the program to the District 34-4A championship this year.
“It is bittersweet because I know we played our hearts out all season long, and we came this far,” Brantley said, “It is bitter because we could have won this game and gone a little farther, but that is the way it goes sometime. We are looking forward to next season.”
The Lady Cougars (22-5-1) scored the opening goal 10 minutes into the match as Kinsey Rhome delivered a deflection off Lampasas goalkeeper Sam Nunnery into the back of the net.
It took 23 minutes for the Lady Badgers to respond, but Hilgenberg floated a ball into the box, where sophomore Inga Frohlingsdorf tied the score.
Despite Lampasas producing a pair of corner kicks and seven shots to College Station’s three shots on goal in the first half, the match remained deadlocked at halftime as missed opportunities began mounting for the Lady Badgers.
“They just weren’t there,” Brantley said. “(We had) all those corners and just couldn’t connect on that top header. … We should have had a couple more (goals).”
But the Lady Cougars would be the only team to score in the second half as Maddie Kothmann posted the lone goal with 20 minutes remaining.
The Lady Badgers finished with 12 shots on goal, including five from sophomore Analise Watson, who will return next season, along with all but three players – Jenkins, who will graduate and Frohlingsdorf and Fred Modin, who are both foreign exchange students — from this year’s team.
“It is nice to have everybody coming back,” Brantley said. “The other district coaches are like, ‘How many are you graduating?’ and I’m like, ‘One, sorry.’”