Analise Watson knows what has to be done.
After reaching the sectional round in each of the previous two years, only to have the seasons end in disappointment, Lampasas’ standout junior does not intend to allow history to repeat itself again.
“We are definitely going to have to focus, concentrate and give it our all because we are going to be facing the team that beat us last year,” Watson said. “We are already pumped and will be practicing real hard.”
The Lady Badgers get a third opportunity in as many years to reach the Region III-4A quarterfinals Friday at Waco ISD Stadium, where they will have a rematch with last season’s sectional opponent College Station — with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
Despite being a young program, Lampasas head coach Tracy Brantley refuses to overlook the Lady Cougars.
“College Station is a newer school,” she said. “It has only been open two years. Last year, it only had two grades, so this year, it has three, so I know they will be a powerhouse.”
In 2013, the Lady Cougars narrowly edged Lampasas in the playoffs, winning 2-1 before falling in the following round. Holding the Lady Badgers to a single goal this time might prove more of a challenge, though. Even for a defensive-minded program like College Station.
Lampasas scored 10 unanswered goals en route to a 10-1 victory against Waco Connally in the bi-district round before beating Nacogdoches 4-1 on Friday at College Station.
While College Station served as host for the Lady Badgers’ recent win, the Lady Cougars will most likely not be so hospitable Friday evening.
College Station has not allowed a goal since district play began, and beat Lufkin Hudson 5-0 to open the playoffs before disposing of Robinson 1-0 in the area round. District 34-4A rivals of Lampasas, the Lady Rockets were the last team to beat the Lady Badgers, winning at home in the regular season finale.
Maria Salinas is emerging as a force for the Lady Badgers, scoring a combined four goals through the first two postseason matches, including the final two against the Lady Dragons.
The trend stretches even further, though. In 2013, the then-junior exploded for five goals in a bi-district victory against Waco.
“She just turns it on in the playoffs,” Brantley said. “Every year, it is like she is in a competition with Analise to get goals.
“It is like she has to get more every night, so we’ve been working on following up on the backside. And I think with this being her senior year, she wants to finish strong.”
Following back-to-back disappointments in the third round, she is not the only one.
“I feel amazing because we are playing so awesome,” Watson said. “We deserve this, and we are going hard into the next round.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org