The Belton Lady Tigers soccer team and host Ellison were locked in a scoreless tie with 28 minutes left in the first half on Friday.
Belton junior forward Aubrey Martinez was 30 yards away from Ellison’s net with the ball at her foot.
“I saw the spot I wanted to kick it to and I knew I had the power to get it there,” Martinez said.
“That’s a long way to shoot a soccer ball,” said Lady Tigers second-year head coach Wendy Knight. “But we were yelling on the sidelines for Aubrey to shoot it. When she takes those type of long shots, they’re beautiful to watch.”
Martinez didn’t hesitate.
With her machine-gun right leg, Martinez hit a rocket that sailed high over Ellison keeper Ashley Street’s outstretched arms and directly into the upper-left corner of the net.
Don’t blame Street — that shot by Martinez was unstoppable.
“I guess sometimes I get a little lucky on those long shots,” Martinez said. “But on that shot I felt like I had it the whole way.”
“Aubrey’s shot was outstanding,” said Belton forward Madi Goldston. “That goal gave us the jumpstart we needed.”
“That goal was great for the morale of our kids,” Knight said. “It set the tone for the rest of the game. We started attacking more.”
Up 1-0 at halftime, Belton outshot Ellison 20-1 in the second half and left town with a 5-0 victory. Belton upped its District 8-5A record to 9-1.
Goldston scored two of Belton’s second-half goals and senior forward Ashley Winkler scored the other two.
As for Ellison’s play, Winkler said, “Give them credit. They came to play tonight. They competed well with us.”
Ellison’s district record is now 5-5. While first-place Belton has already locked up a postseason berth, the fourth-place Lady Eagles are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in 19 seasons.
“We wanted to compete tonight with Belton and improve as a team and I think we accomplished that,” said Ellison senior captain Alyssa Conde. “We knew Belton was excellent but I’m very proud of all my teammates because we fought very hard, we never got down on ourselves—we never quit competing.”
Ellison was only outshot 5-4 in the first half. But Belton clearly dominated play in the second half.
The highlight for Ellison was some spectacular saves by Street.
The junior goalie stopped shots by diving side-to-side. She stopped shots by leaping. And Street repeatedly thwarted Belton offensive thrusts by leaving the net and knocking away balls with fearless head-first, the-heck-with-my-body dives.
“Ashley Street played amazing tonight,” Conde said. “She was remarkable.”
“I guess you could say I was brave,” Street said. “But that’s my job. I am proud of myself and I’m proud of my teammates because they played their hearts out. Belton played their hearts out, too. I knew Belton would come out here and play strong. They wanted the win and that’s what they got. But we showed them that we’re pretty good, too.”
On Tuesday, Ellison travels to Harker Heights to face the Lady Knights. The two teams are currently tied for the district’s fourth and final playoff berth.
The Lady Tigers have four games left and if they run the table they’ll have earned their 10th consecutive district title, although it most likely will be shared with Waco Midway.
“We have big goals for our team,” Martinez said. “We want to win everything, not just district — we want to win state.”
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com