COPPERAS COVE — Anissa Thomas’ goal did more than give Ellison a two-goal lead. It provided the Lady Eagles with hope.
Thomas took a drop pass from teammate Sydnie Townsend and delivered it into the left corner of the goal, giving the Lady Eagles all the cushion they needed en route to a 2-0 victory against Copperas Cove.
“I’m relieved,” Thomas said. “Now, we just need to fight and don’t give up.”
Entering the evening needing a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive, Ellison earned an added advantage on Thomas’ first goal of the season.
The two-goal win gives the Lady Eagles the goal-differential tiebreaker against the Lady Bulldawgs entering Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Killeen.
“We needed a two-goal differential, and that is what we got tonight,” Ellison head coach Matthew Watt said. “We’ve still got some work to do Tuesday, but it was a beautiful thing to watch them play. (Thomas’ goal) carried us through the game. ... It was a great time for her to get her first goal.”
Ellison (8-15-1, 5-8-0) can secure the final District 8-5A playoff berth with a win against Killeen and a Copperas Cove loss at Temple, while the Lady Bulldawgs (14-10-0, 6-7-0) can wrap up the spot with a victory against the Tem-Cats.
Copperas Cove head coach Hagen Streckel, who had this match circled on his calendar weeks ago, knew his team let an opportunity slip through its hands.
“We just didn’t play as well as I thought we’d play,” he said. “It was a lack of ball control. We just did not control the ball. We got in a hurry, and I think the stress got to us. We just didn’t settle down and play our game.”
The Lady Bulldawgs recorded six shots on goal in the first half, but were unable to convert on Ellison goalkeeper Ashley Street.
Ellison only attempted three shots in the opening half, but Alyssa Conde capitalized on a penalty kick in the 31st minute.
“It has been difficult for us to come back in games, so being in the lead, we feel more comfortable, we settle, and we started playing better after that,” Watt said. “It was wonderful.”
The Lady Eagles were much more aggressive after intermission, and less than 10 minutes into the second half, Thomas found the back of the net to give her team a huge advantage in the game and in the standings.
“It feels good,” Thomas said. “It feels like we can relax a little bit.”