By Anthony Mannino
Lake Travis View Contributing Writer
The Cavaliers lost in their first-ever Class 5A playoff game 2-0 to Round Rock Thursday night at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
Despite the early postseason exit, coach David Bammel mentioned the improvement from last season – when the team finished fourth out of six teams in 4A – to this season – when they competed for the top spot in a tough 5A district.
“(This season) went way better than I thought it would,” senior Colin Tracy said. “Coach Bammel made a big impact, and I think the future of Lake Travis soccer is really promising.”
Lake Travis avoided falling behind early in the game when Alexis Mata’s header hit the crossbar, after a cross from the left wing in the 3rd minute. Round Rock attacked the Lake Travis net again in the 14h minute, and Mata forced Lake Travis goalie Will Neuse to make a diving save.
The Dragons chances eventually led to a Round Rock goal in the 21st minute, after a turnover by Lake Travis in the midfield. Round Rock countered quickly and moved the ball to Cliff Hicks, who cut inside and scored from the top of the box to give Round Rock a 1-0 lead.
The second part of the first half, the Cavaliers started creating chances. Colin Tracy set up Nathaniel Adamolekun, who shot the ball just wide in the 26th minute. Dylan Tracy almost scored from 40-yards out when he forced Round Rock’s keeper to punch the ball over the net.
Round Rock’s keeper cleared away three straight corners hit by Dylan Tracy in the 10th minute. The midfielder’s service was dangerous, but Lake Travis players were unable to beat the keeper to the ball. The half ended with Round Rock up 1-0
Lake Travis came close to finding a tying goal five minutes into the second half. Colin passed to his brother, Dylan Tracy, who played a through ball to Cooper Fyfe. The winger was alone with the keeper, but his shot went inches wide of the net.
The two Tracy brothers patiently possessed the ball in the second half, searching for an opening in the Round Rock defense. The Dragons played nine defenders behind the ball in the second half. Their strategy was to hold onto their 1-0 lead and force Lake Travis to break through their defense.
The Cavaliers took shots from outside the box with Round Rock in a defensive shell. Lake Travis produced a few opportunities but failed to threaten Round Rock’s keeper after Fyfe’s shot.
Round Rock eventually caught Lake Travis on the counter with the Cavaliers sending multiple players forward to try and tie the game. Vance Perkins fouled a Round Rock player in the box, while trying to run back and cut off the attacker’s shot on goal, with 12 minutes left.
The referee deemed Perkins’ challenge from behind worthy of a red card, and he awarded Round Rock a penalty. Jorge Marin Castillo converted from the spot and ended Lake Travis’ hope of a comeback.
“(The goal) put things into perspective that there was a good chance that we were going to lose the game,” senior Tanner Barton said. “And that’s when things started getting really emotional for me, and I know it did for everyone else.”
The game with Round Rock winning 2-0.
“The season has been great. We’ve gone through a lot. We’ve played some tough teams and had some hard losses,” Barton said. “But we really bounced back from them and learned as a team.”
Coach Bammel spoke of his seniors, who he coached for the first time this season.
“The leadership qualities that they possessed was a big thing that I am going to miss about them,” he said. “There is a lot of heart in these seniors.”
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