By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
The playoff destiny of both Lampasas and Killeen were still in flux with 14 seconds left in the first half of their girls soccer match Tuesday night.
But the Lady Badgers (16-6-1, 7-3 34-4A) clinched a playoff birth on freshman Analise Watson's goal that slipped through the clutches of Killeen (8-12-1, 3-6) keeper Nia Duran's hands as time wound down in the opening half.
The last-second score gave Lampasas the 1-0 victory.
"We played really well and spread the ball around," said Lampasas coach Tracy Russ. "We finished out the half with the first and only goal.
"It was huge because right before halftime it put us on top and gave us more energy to come out and play."
Killeen coach Richard Romeo agreed.
"That goal probably shouldn't have happened," Romeo said. "It was all technique. (Duran) stopped harder ones than that before."
Romeo said there were five other mistakes prior to the goal being scored and that the blame isn't laid at Duran's feet alone.
Needing a win to stay alive, the Lady Roos' playoff hopes weren't completely dashed as the ball slipped through Duran's hands, but the momentum was clearly on Lampasas' side.
At the 39-minute mark. when Killeen forward Haley Crissman sailed in from the right side and attempted a cross-goal shot, Lady Badgers goalkeeper Sam Nunnery almost had an identical moment to Duran's.
Though she caught it, the ball bobbled out of Nunnery's hands and the keeper lost sight of it.
"(I was thinking) Oh my God, I can't believe I missed it." Nunnery said.
But she didn't miss it completely, the ball bounced harmlessly around her feet where she scooped it up and killed the only threat the Lady Roos could muster.
"We just didn't have it tonight," Romeo said.
Nunnery got the shutout, but took little credit.
"I did pretty well," Nunnery said. "But my team did awesome. They cleared the ball out (of the front of the net) and their passes were on point."
All of which allowed Nunnery to play the ball aggressive.
"(Killeen) is really fast (so) if (my team) doesn't clear it then I might not be able to get back and the other team scores." Nunnery said.
Despite the loss and all but being eliminated from playoff contention, the Lady Roos' aren't going to pack it in.
"We have three games left so those will be our playoffs," Romeo said. "We'll play them for our seniors."