87° F Sunday, June 25, 2017

By Kyle Gregory

The Lady Cavaliers kept pace to stay in the second slot in district with a win and a tie last week.

Lake Travis blasted past last-place Akins 7-0 Friday to get back in the win column after the girls soccer team had played to two consecutive district draws prior to that.

Lake Travis wound up tying Bowie 1-1 Feb. 26, but the Lady Cavaliers edged out the Bulldogs in the shootout 4-3 on the heels of a tie – and shootout loss – with Austin High the game before that.

The win over Akins was needed, but the tie against Bowie might have been bigger.

“Going into [the Bowie] game, we knew we needed some points out of it to keep our place in the standings,” Goodwin said. “We knew it was going to be a hard game because they came at us last time and we broke down. All we were looking for was that one point.”

There was little evidence of the wide margin of victory of the two teams’ first meeting when the match began.

“The shootout’s just for a bonus point,” Lake Travis coach Jeff Gamble said. “It doesn’t really concern me. What concerns me is that last time we played them, we lost 3-0, and this time we tied them 1-1.”

Lake Travis (7-9-3, 5-2-2 in district) moved the ball well against the Bowie defense and earned the game’s first goal.

The Bulldogs rebuffed a Lake Travis corner kick, but a swarm of Cavaliers didn’t allow the ball to leave the box. Allie Stone, having crept up from her usual defensive position, swooped into the scrum and sent the ball angling sharply over the keeper’s head and into the top of the net.

The Bulldogs did their best to answer in the first half, but Lake Travis keeper Nikki Goodwin was steady on her feet and prevented any shots from slipping through.

The second half of the game opened with the same measured pace that characterized the first. Both teams were aggressive but had little success getting past the opposing defense.

Lake Travis best scoring opportunity of the second half took an unfortunate turn as both Aubri Detmer and the Bowie keeper chased aggressively after an Anna Vidakovic cross. The dogged pursuit ended in a hard collision that sidelined the Bulldog goalie with 27 minutes left in the game.

With their starting keeper out, and Lake Travis doing its best to take advantage of her understudy, the Bulldogs rallied with 16 minutes left and earned a goal of their own. Bowie sent four players on the attack and a long, airborne cross careened off the head of a Bulldog and beyond Goodwin’s reach.

As the minutes ticked away, Bowie grew bolder in its attack. The Bulldogs relentlessly charged at Lake Travis’ side of the pitch, giving the Cavaliers no time mount a counterattack. Goodwin held her own and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

“They pressured us really hard at the end of the game,” Gamble said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to survive. Nikki came up with some huge saves. We kind of stopped playing soccer and went into survival mode those last 12 minutes or so.”

The draw was no respite for Goodwin, who had to contend with two rounds of shootouts. The first round came down to the wire. Both clubs netted three goals and, because Goodwin had blocked Bowie’s first shot, Stone had an opportunity to win it for Lake Travis. She came close, but her shot clanged off the inside of the crossbar and bounced out.

“Last week ended in a shootout, and we didn’t do so good,” Goodwin said. “We practiced today, and I knew I just had to step up and do my part, so that’s what I did.”

The next five shooters followed Stone’s example and drew near misses of their own. Lake Travis’ Amanda Allison (the squad’s eighth shooter and 16th overall) broke the curse and snuck one past the Bowie keeper.

“We know that we can’t just stop now; we’ve got to keep pushing through,” Goodwin said. “We have Anderson next week. We have to play good against them. That’s a big game.”

Prior to next week’s game against Anderson, the Cavaliers will face Akins at Burger Stadium Friday at 7:45 p.m.

“We’re definitely getting better every day,” Gamble said. “We’re learning how to play, and we’re getting better every day.”

Lake Travis plays at Del Valle 7:45 p.m. Friday and is off until the district finale, hosting Westlake March 19.

District 15-5A girls soccer standings (through March 4)

W L SO Ties Points

Westlake 9 0 0 36

Lake Travis 5 2 2 23

Austin High 4 2 2 19

Anderson 4 4 0 16

Bowie 3 4 2 15

Akins 1 7 1 6

Del Valle 0 7 1 1

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