Ellison coach Matthew Watt had to wait longer than he would have liked for the news. He saw the tweet at 8:45 Tuesday night.
The news was devastating to the Lady Eagles soccer coach, even though his squad had just gutted out a 2-1 victory over cross-town rival Killeen. Ellison was eliminated from playoff contention in historical fashion.
“After all the hard work we put into it, it’s tough for it to end like this,” Watt said. “But we gave ourselves an opportunity to and that’s all I can ask for.”
The Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs knew they could make history or be history. The Lady Dawgs chose the former and upset Temple 3-1 on the road. The win marked two firsts for Cove — the Lady Dawgs had never beaten Temple (15-7-1, 9-4-1 8-5A) before and they sealed a playoff spot for the third year in a row.
Shelbie Letzer dominated the game for the Lady Dawgs, scoring on a free kick in the 16th minute of the first half. She lined up at the 35-yard line and aimed a shot from the left-hand side and caught the inside of the goalpost for what Cove coach Hagen Streckel called, “a beautiful shot.”
She also assisted teammates Ali McBride and Cheyenne Heurque, who both scored headers on crossing passes from Letzer in the 19th and 50th minutes, respectively.
The victory was not without its tension.
“We were up 2-0 against them last time but they came back and beat us 3-2,” Streckel said. “But I told them at half that if they want to win the game, they have to keep up the intensity and pressure.”
Roughly about the time Streckel was nervously optimistic about his team’s performance, Ellison’s (9-14-1, 6-8) match with the Lady Roos was called due to lightning — ending the game after the first half.
“We let Killeen come back and tie the score and I knew the weather was a factor,” Watt said. “I knew we had to score before half — and we did and it gave us breathing room.”
After taking an early lead on a Mikayla Wozniak score from Jazmine German in the fourth minute, Killeen (2-14-1, 2-11-1), as its been known to do, increased the defensive pressure and started to dictate the pace of the game.
But then Blaike Boyd passed to Alyssa Conde who took the shot but was blocked by the Lady Roos’ goalkeeper. Conde got her own rebound and scored to make the game 2-1 Ellison.
According to Watt, “They completely dominated us until we were able to get outside and us our speed.”
Haley Crissman scored the Lady Roos’ lone goal in the 14th minute, putting in a rebound off a cross Kaitlyn McVeigh put on goal.
Cove now awaits news of where it play its first playoff game against Mansfield, while Watt and his Lady Eagles ponder what might have been and look to next year when Ellison will return nine of its 11 starters.
“Next year, with hard work from our girls, we hope to contend for a playoff spot,” Watt said.