Bailey Gott might have had the best view in the house Saturday. Like the spectators at Leo Buckley Stadium, the Belton goalkeeper spent most of her day watching the Killeen ISD Centex Shootout championship game.
Gott was playing. The junior filled in for Kelsi Darr, who was on a college recruiting visit. But with her Lady Tigers in full control against Austin LBJ Belton cruised to a 3-0 victory Gott spent much of her day watching the action from the 10-yard line.
Its not just standing around, said Gott, seeing her first extended time after three shoulder surgeries. You can see the whole field versus say a forward who has the ball. You can let me know in advance before they even have to look where to play the ball. I think thats where weve been so successful. The goalies that we have we talk nonstop.
So Gott helped direct a Lady Tiger unit that features plenty of offensive firepower, but continues to grow defensively. Belton (4-0) graduated its top defenders, including last seasons District 12-5A Defensive Most Valuable Player (Taylor Pressley).
But the Lady Tigers still posted three shutouts and capped a two-day tournament run where they outscored their opponents 25-1.
Scoring goals is something we kind of expected, so we spent a lot of December and preseason really working on the defensive shape and our team as a unit, Belton head coach Barry Elkins said. Weve changed our formation three times over the two days just to figure out how we can play with all of the talent that we do have.
That talent wasted little time getting on the board. Four minutes in, Beltons Carina Dunnahoo took a corner kick, putting the ball in a crowd in front of LBJs goal. Jourdan Brown, the Lady Tigers leading scorer a year ago, got her head on the kick and put it in the back of the net.
The Lady Tigers made it 2-0 eight minutes later, as Jamie Boone found Kathryn Parker running up the right side. The ball was almost too far in front of the sophomore, but Parker ran it down right before it went out of bounds, flicking it over the outstretched hands of LBJs Amanda Haight. There was Hadley Young for the easy goal.
The chemistry is pretty good, said Young, one of nine returners who earned all-district honors last season. Obviously, girls will be girls and not everyones going to love each other all the time. But I think we do a pretty good job of being really inclusive ... trying to be a team.
Dunnahoo added the third goal at the start of the second half, settling a pass from Boone before beating Haight from about 23 yards out.
In the semifinals, Belton stomped a mud hole in Leander Rouse.
With the weather worsening throughout the day, field conditions played a significant factor at Ellison as the Lady Tigers possessed the ball for the majority of the first half and defeated the Lady Raiders 5-0. By the time Rouse finally wrangled away any time of possession in the second half, the field was a muddy mess.
We worked a lot on possession in the last month and finding the open players and open space the field dictated play we wanted to go up the middle but we werent able to so we made the adjustment and tried to play the ball wide and tried to serve the ball in, Elkins said. We were just trying to avoid the quagmire in the middle.
Brown hit a shot from 28 yards out into the upper right hand corner for a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Boones shot attempt hit the crossbar and Brown got the putback to go up 2-0 in the 16th minute.
Belton stretched its lead to 4-0 before the half, when Jesse Hagen, a sophomore, scored in the 24th minute and junior Bekah Rush scored in the 25th minute. Micaela Cown finished off the scoring with a left-footed goal in the 33rd minute.
HARKER HEIGHTS Magaly Marin, Sr., MF Sidney Journey, Sr., F Natalie Requenez, So., D Sarah Marquardt, Sr., MF KILLEEN Riccaj Joslin, Sr., D Natasha Garcia, Sr., D Jade Rodriguez, Sr., MF Raquera Rivas, Sr., G SHOEMAKER Madi Woodard, Fr., F Katie Granados, So., G Tiffany Drake, Sr., D ELLISON Ashley Morelos, Jr., G Arantza Trejo, Sr., F Annjelicia Estrada, Jr., D BELTON Jourdan Brown, Sr., MF Hadley Young, Jr., F Alex Burke, Sr., D COPPERAS COVE Shelbie Letzer, Fr., MF Shelby Campbell, Sr., F Alyson Sinclair, Jr., MF