HUTTO — Kiff Wiemers smiles when he thinks about his team falling into a three-goal hole.
Less than seven minutes into the second half, Class 4A No. 1 Giddings scored its third unanswered goal of the match, putting Lampasas’ hopes of advancing into the area round of the playoffs in serious jeopardy.
After shutting out the Lady Buffaloes’ powerful offense for the first 30 minutes of the match, the Lady Badgers were suddenly facing the sobering fact their season was on the verge of ending.
But Lampasas countered.
Approximately two minutes later, Lady Badgers freshman Autumn Burns slipped a header past Giddings’ goalkeeper, and while it proved to be Lampasas’ lone score in a 5-1 defeat, it also created a fond memory for the head coach.
“I’ve never walked away from a game like this with my head held down,” Wiemers said, “because every team I’ve ever had has responded. We haven’t always won, but they’ve always responded.
“This team has really grown ... and I think that goal is something we can put in our back pocket. It just felt really nice to know that we can score on a very good team.”
Thursday night, however, Giddings simply did not allow Lampasas many opportunities.
The Lady Buffaloes spent a majority of the match on the attack, penetrating deep into their opponents territory and delivering repeated shots on goal.
Thanks to a strong showing from Lady Badgers goalkeeper Lindsey Whaley, many were denied as the senior thwarted a number of potential goals, especially in the first half.
Admittedly, withstanding the early onslaught was stressful for Whaley.
“My heart was racing,” she said. “It is a lot to comprehend and run through my mind. I just had to stay on my toes and be ready for anything.”
While Whaley recorded the saves, stopping Giddings was a team effort, according to Wiemers.
“The defense corralled around her pretty well,” he said.
“I think Giddings got a little flustered, and it got to them a little bit that they’re the state’s No. 1 team, but they couldn’t just hammer away.”
With 8 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the opening half, though, the Lady Buffaloes finally found the back of the net, and five minutes later, they pushed their lead to 2-0.
Giddings’ cushion grew to 3-0 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for Tatum Morrison to send a free kick toward the Lady Buffaloes’ goal, where a scramble ensued before Burns’ header put Lampasas on the scoreboard.
“We got a goal against them,” Whaley said. “We should be proud of that.”
The attempted rally ended 20 minutes later, when Giddings scored the first of two goals in the final 11 minutes of the match.
The loss concludes Wiemers’ second year at the helm of the program and gives the Lady Badgers their only first-round departure in the last five seasons.
Although he is disappointed in the outcome, Wiemers feels the future remains bright.
“We’re losing five seniors (Layne Hix, Madi Walls, Gina Cortes, Xenia Vargas and Whaley),” he said, “but we have a lot of youth that got out there and got some playing time, and every one had an impact on the game.
“This was a rebuilding year, so it was nice to make the playoffs, but on Monday, we start over.”