First Half Goal Ends Lady Cats' Historic Playoff Run
ABILENE, TX -- A first half goal was all that separated the previously unbeaten Central Lady Cats and Arlington Lady Colts at McMurry University’s Wilford Moore Stadium on Friday.
Caroline Pool put the shot past goalkeeper Megan White and the Lady Cat defense from outside the penalty box in the 12th minute. It proved to be all that was needed for Arlington to hand Central their only loss of the season.
“It’s been a fun run,” head coach Benjamin Henry said. “That’s the first loss, obviously the first time we’ve been down. They played really well. We were unfortunate on some, I mean, what a shot. It’s one shot that takes them through. We weren’t able to muster that same … shot. But we did have opportunities.”
A slew of those opportunities came in the waning minutes of the match as Central threw the kitchen sink forward to keep their season alive.
Madison Mayben had a chance at a 30-yard shot, but it went wide in the 61st minute. Averi Handy had a shot from outside the penalty box saved six minutes later.
On a balmy day with the heat radiating off the artificial turf field, seeing his girls fight through fatigue to give them a shot at equalizing is a point of pride for Henry. White kept the Lady Cats in the match with a crucial 1-on-1 save in the 71st minute.
“They never gave up and as a coach, that’s one of the biggest things to you,” Henry said. “These kids, they’ve had great things instilled in them all year and since [they were] kids. To see them not give up on that, I’m obviously pleased with it. I just wish we were going on and I know they do too. It’s kinda bittersweet because I think maybe another day, we get a win here and move on.”
After making the regional quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years, the hope going forward is that the experience from this deep run will carry over to the 11 returners in 2020.
“They’ve been here. They made it past a certain point,” Henry said. “They have the experience behind them a little bit. Seeing it and being on the trips and seeing what kind of style is the playoffs. Everybody pours it all out there and they know they have to be ready for that.”
The Lady Cats finish the season 19-1-5. Arlington advances to the Class 6A Region I semifinal next Friday.