LAMPASAS — Salado has what Lampasas wants — the ability to finish.
Despite being limited to six shots during the game, the Badgers had chances to crawl out of an early hole, but, unlike the Eagles, could not make their opportunities count, and Salado earned a 3-0 road victory to keep its
district record unblemished.
“It was big for us, especially with how well (Lampasas was) playing in the first half,” Salado head coach Michael Goos said. “They had a lot of chances on our goal, and I let (Race) know that he scared us a lot. I told the kids that we had to take the wind out of their sails as early as we can, so getting that first goal helped us a lot.”
Holding a two-goal advantage 25 minutes into the match was critical, according to Goos, who admitted the Badgers were continually threatening to make things interesting.
“Realistically, we outplayed them pretty much the entire game,” Lampasas head coach Ryan Race said, “but they are a seasoned team, and when they had their opportunities, they capitalized. Us, as a growing team, had way more opportunities, but did not have the (ability to take advantage).”
As the veteran squad, it did not take long for Salado to jump out to a lead.
Eric McGregor delivered the Eagles’ first shot into the back of the net less than 11 minutes into the match before adding a second goal 14 minutes later.
“The first one was just a corner kick and (teammate) Cameron Markham laid it off to me, and I just shot it and kicked it in,” McGregor said. “(The other one) came off one of their defenders and it fell right at my feet — I just kicked it in.”
Both goals occurred inside the penalty box amongst masses of bodies. Although both shots were contested, Goos was not surprised to see them find their way into the net.
“A lot of times, that is how he gets his goals,” Goos said. “He just outworks the defense. He’s not real flashy, but he just outworks them.”
The score held until late in the match, when Dennie Barker took a breakaway down the right sideline before sending a kick past Barbero, who recorded nine saves, with less than three minutes remaining.
The Eagles (10-9-3, 3-0 34-4A) finished the match with six shot attempts in each half, while Lampasas was continually in position to strike, but could not seem to deliver shots.
Race believes it will simply take time for his players to learn how to create scoring opportunities.
“We are continuing to grow and become a better team,” Race said. “And it has been very obvious that we are becoming a better team. … But they’ve got to get it into their heads that they are finishers.”
The loss drops the Badgers to 1-2 in district heading into Tuesday’s match at Gatesville.
“They are starting to believe that they can play with anybody,” Race said. “That’s the biggest thing. We can play with the 5A big boys, but when we don’t think we can win, we come out timid. It takes time for a culture to change.”
Although the Eagles were playing shorthanded due to injuries, they had complete confidence in their abilities to rally together.
“We came in knowing that we didn’t have a lot of subs, and they were going to have to stick it out,” Goos said. “And they did a good job of doing that.”
Lampasas girls 4, Salado 0 — At Lampasas, the Lady Badgers posted four first half goals and were never threatened by the visiting Lady Eagles.
Analise Watson put Lampasas (9-8-2, 2-1 34-4A) ahead 1-0 on a penalty kick eight minutes into the match, and, less than two minutes later, Inga Froehlingsdorf scored her first goal of the season off a deflection by Salado’s goalkeeper.
Caitlyn Shaughnessy then added a third goal at the 29-minute mark, lofting a high shot into the top of the net. Drew Dekort completed the quartet of first-half goals by bending a corner kick past the defense with six minutes remaining before halftime.
“Their will to want to score was just there,” Lampasas head coach Tracy Brantley said. “We had some trouble switching the ball early, but once they realized there was a whole other wing wide open, they started moving the ball back and forth, and it just looked beautiful.”
The loss dropped Salado’s overall record to 5-9-1 and 1-2 in district.
“I thought we played a lot better in the second half,” said Goos, who is also the Salado girls soccer coach. “We had a lot of trouble when the wind was in our face in the first half. And as soon as we switched halves, the wind died down.
“We had a lot better second half, but that 20-minute period, where we allowed four goals, it was just too tough to allow those goals in a short time and recover from it.”