COPPERAS COVE — You could see it on the field Tuesday; both teams left everything they had on the turf.
Ellison and Copperas Cove were looking to pick up a win that would improve their standing in the District 8-6A girls playoff race, and in the end, Ellison defeated Copperas Cove 1-0.
It appeared both teams would end up scoreless at the end of regulation, but with two minutes left, Lulu Moreno netted a free kick past the goalie and into the net to give the Eagles a huge road win.
“The last 20 minutes of the game was so intense,” said Ellison head coach Jonathan Linley. “The story is the winner of this game is probably going to the playoffs, but these are the two teams that are fighting for the last playoff spot.”
With the win, Ellison (4-6-1, 13 points) moved one point ahead of Harker Heights (4-7) for fourth place. Heights lost 9-0 against 8-6A leader San Angelo Central. Cove (3-8) could have tied Heights for fourth place with a victory.
“Everybody knew what was on the line,” Linley said. “This is Lulu’s senior year, and she has had a tremendous year for us. To see her score that goal at the end was pretty spectacular.”
Both teams had several scoring opportunities throughout the game. Copperas Cove missed two legitimate scoring threats in the first half, but had nothing to show for it.
In the 19th minute of the first half, Kailey Walker passed ahead to Mariah Ruiz. who laced a perfect kick through the air, but it was stopped by Ellison keeper Hayley Kelley.
Kelley proved to be huge in the outcome as she made stops on 14 Lady Dawg attempts at the net, including several where she had to dive to her left and right to come away with the save.
“She was player of the game, no doubt about it tonight,” Linley said. “She has been fighting harder in practice to make herself better, and it showed on the field tonight.
“She specifically told the team that if it’s on me, we are going to playoffs. She wants the big stage and to be able to play in the playoffs, and I couldn’t be more proud of her tonight.”
Cove also received a great show in goal Tuesday by the duo of Sophia Caro and KK Lamkin, who each played a half. Also standing out on defense for the Lady Dawgs were Ashley Cowan and Haven Stevenson.
Copperas Cove coach Pat Rox admitted that is team had several scoring chances, but couldn’t seem to get the timely goal it needed.
“It is very disappointing because we just didn’t finish. We talked before the game that we can’t give up free kicks, and it is a hard way to lose. We aren’t out of the playoff race yet, but we certainly made it harder for us tonight to get in,” Rox said.
Both teams return to action Friday. Copperas Cove travels to Shoemaker, and Ellison faces Harker Heights.