Lampasas does not know what to expect from Nacogdoches, but the Lady Badgers still know what has to happen.
Coming off a dominating win in its playoff opener, Lampasas is entering into unchartered territory against a team head coach Tracy Brantley admits she knows nothing about.
Nevertheless, Caitlyn Shaughnessy understands exactly what the Lady Badgers must do to emerge victorious against its Region III-4A area-round playoff opponent Nacogdoches.
“It is going to take focus, communication and hard work,” the junior said. “We are just going to all have to come together.”
The Lady Badgers are forced to focus on themselves because their knowledge of Nacogdoches is so limited.
“I have no idea about them,” Brantley said. “I haven’t seen them play.”
For the record, the Lady Dragons went 11-8-1 this season, finishing second in District 35-3A and defeated a familiar foe of the Lady Badgers to advance.
Nacogdoches beat Bryan Rudder 3-0 on Tuesday in its bi-district match. Last season, Lampasas beat the Lady Rangers 3-1 in the area round to reach its second consecutive sectional-round appearance.
Like Shaughnessy, senior Maria Salinas believes the Lady Badgers will be successful if they continue to maintain the same approach used all season.
“It is all about practicing,” she said. “We just have to keep practicing as hard as we can every single day. We always tell each other that we practice like we play. So, the harder we practice, the better we will play.”
The philosophy paid off for Lampasas Tuesday against Waco Connally.
The Lady Badgers scored in the match’s fourth minute. Shaughnessy recovered a ball deflected by Lady Cadets goalkeeper Tori Pena before sending it into the back of the net.
“The goalie almost had it, but she dropped it,” Shaughnessy said. “I just followed up, and knocked it right in the goal.”
Turns out Shaughnessy triggered an avalanche of offense as the Lady Badgers scored three unanswered goals in the span of 89 seconds, giving Lampasas a commanding 4-0 advantage less than nine minutes into the match.
The Lady Badgers posted 10 goals, including two from Shaughnessy and Salinas, before Connally finally got on the scoreboard with 73 seconds remaining in the match.
“That was a great start to the playoffs,” Shaughnessy said. “We had a miscommunication on the last goal, but this is a great start, and it is going to keep on progressing.”
Lampasas will play Nacogdoches at College Station High School tonight at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to face the winner between College Station and Robinson. Last season, the Lady Cougars were responsible for ending Lampasas’ season in the third round.
Although the Lady Badgers would like to exact a measure of revenge against College Station, they know Nacogdoches poses a significant threat.
After their opening-round performance, Salinas feels certain her team is up to the challenge.
“That is how we want to play in every single game,” she said.
“We just want to go as hard as we can, and that boosts our confidence to know that we’ve got this. We are a team, and if we keep playing that way, then we will go far.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org