MANOR — Taylor coach Cory Maxwell believes a few years down the road that his girls soccer program could begin having the type of playoff success Salado expects every season. That time just isn’t now.
Junior Reagan Morreale had a hat trick, Salado scored two quick goals in the opening 2 minutes of the first half, and the Lady Eagles kept that momentum en route to a 5-0 shutout of Taylor in a Class 4A bi-district match Thursday evening at blustery Manor ISD Stadium.
Morreale scored her third goal with less than 30 seconds remaining in the match to cap a performance that helped the Lady Eagles (17-4-1) — state semifinalists last season — advance to face Fischer Canyon Lake in the area round early next week.
“(Salado coach Michael Goos) does a great job with that program,” Maxwell said. “Salado is a good team, and they are going to go a couple of rounds deep I think. (Salado) just tactically wore us out today. Playing in the wind didn’t help. My goalie is a rookie. She did a pretty good job considering the competition we’re going against.
“That’s where we want to be. We want to be a Salado, a Giddings, a Liberty Hill-type program. We’re getting there. I think within four to five years, we’ll be that competitive.”
The Lady Ducks (13-5-1) didn’t have much of a chance Thursday.
Salado showcased a dominating performance on both sides of the ball, outshooting Taylor 31-4. The Lady Eagles had plenty of scoring opportunities with 17 shots on goal, keeping Taylor goalie Danielle Rios busy the entire match.
“We started out strong early in the game,” Morreale said. “The wind was a factor, and it really helped us score those goals early. Going back into the wind in the second half, we were just trying to keep the ball and keep possession. We knew (the ball) was just going to come right back in our face.
A strong wind affected the passing accuracy of both teams, but Salado had it blowing at its back in the first 40 minutes and took advantage by tallying three goals before halftime.
Freshman Hannah Reavis got Salado on the board, scoring off an assist from Ashlen LaCanne in the opening 90 seconds. Morreale netted her first goal 30 seconds later to put Taylor in a 2-0 hole.
“That definitely just showed how fast we could get it in and how well we would do throughout the rest of the game,” Reavis said. “Our defense did amazing at clearing the ball, and then Danielle (McDaniel) came out and saved it really well for being a new keeper.”
Morreale scored in the 21st minute with a shot into the upper left corner of the net, making it 3-0 at the break.
Salado’s attack was more efficient in the second half despite playing into the wind, scoring twice on just five shots.
Annie Ewton scored her team-leading 23rd goal of the season, giving Salado a 4-0 advantage when she kicked the ball in the bottom left corner of the net with 16:44 left.
Salado dominated the time of possession, and Taylor rarely had the ball on the Lady Eagles’ half of the field.
“Our defense was pretty solid. This is Danielle’s first year playing soccer, and we’re really excited to have her,” Reavis said of Salado’s first-year goalie. “She’s been doing a great job.”