TEMPLE — The Salado Lady Eagles achieved their goal. But taking the next step will have to wait another year.
The upstart Lady Eagles made the playoffs in just the second year of the soccer program at Salado, but lost 5-0 Waco University in the bi-district round of the Region III-4A soccer playoffs Tuesday at Woodson Field.
“(Making the playoffs) was a big goal coming into the season,” Salado coach Michael Goos said. “Coming off a season where you went 4-20-1 is tough, but at the same time it was the kind of year you would expect from a first-year program. Going forward and making the playoffs in the second year is something we can build on.”
Salado goalkeeper Madi DePriest was peppered with shots on goal early, including three in a two minute span from the 13th to 15th minute, one that got by, one that she narrowly tipped and caught and a third that was deflected away.
University broke through again when Valarie Delgado scored off her own rebound and laid an easy shot past an already stretched out DePriest.
After that barrage, University kept the pressure on the Lady Eagles (8-14-1). Yamilla Perez drilled a high shot into the upper right 90 in the 24th minute to put the Lady Trojans up 2-0. A minute later, Delgado hit a cross shot and University went up 3-0. Lundon Gutierrez finished off the first half scoring when she scored from 25 yards out as the Lady Trojans pulled away with 11:24 left in the first half.
“We move the ball very well,” University coach Mike Chapman said. “We work a lot on possession and we have a lot of skill players. We handle the ball real well and switch the field when needed.”
Salado was able to hold University in check for the majority of the second half, cutting the shots on goal in half, from 10 to five.
“I think the biggest thing we did in the second half was slow down ... I heard some of the girls talking before they got out here and on the bus about how nervous they were,” Goos said. “A lot of it was nerves. We did not think about what we were doing. We did not put ourselves in a position to stop them, and in the second half we settled down and had a purpose in what we were doing.”
University scored its lone goal of the second half when Alexis Barragan got a one-on-one with DePriest in the 65th minute and just chipped the shot past her.
“Once you can get that lead early — especially when you are talented like we are — it is crucial,” Chapman said. “The only way teams beat teams with more talent is with effort. If you give the effort, there should not be a doubt.
“You do not allow teams to get back in the game.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569