By Moses Leos III
An overpowering offense from the Bowie Bulldogs was too much for the Hays Lady Rebels to halt in a 3-1 defeat Saturday at House Park in Austin.
The loss, combined with the Lehman Lady Lobos’ defeat by Austin High on Friday, eliminates Hays from playoff contention.
Halting Bowie’s high-pressure offense proved a difficult obstacle in the first half. Hays gave up an early goal to Bowie, trailing 1-0 with 20 minutes left in the first half.
Bowie’s ability to rapidly manufacture attacks kept the Rebel defense on their heels in the first half. Led by senior Sydney Graham, Bowie pressed forward, forcing the Lady Rebels to defend in their own end.
Meanwhile, Hays struggled to help its own cause on offense. Passes and playing in sync were problematic issues throughout the game leaving many Lady Rebel attacks to dissolve in the midfield.
Hays head coach Brent Holcomb said slow starts have been an issue for Hays this season. But Hays warmed up with ten minutes to go before halftime.
Led by senior Alexis Cowher, Hays picked up the pace of play. The Lady Rebels also focused on shortening the field, allowing for more support on runs. Holcomb said that tactic has been a key point of focus this season.
As a result, Hays had several chances on goal to score. But Bowie held a 1-0 lead at intermission.
At halftime Holcomb challenged his team. Knowing their playoff fate, he asked, “Why do we want to win this game?”
“The girls came up with some good reasons, the most important being they were Hays Rebels,” Holcomb said. “They showed that in the second half. The urgency and intensity was better from the start.”
Hays capitalized on its renewed vigor in the 47th minute. An over-the-top pass from Kat Salmeron was gathered by Cowher in the scoring third. Cowher then pushed ahead into the 18-yard box, and deftly rolled a shot past Bowie’s goalkeeper to score the equalizer.
But the Lady Bulldogs wasted no time in reclaiming the lead. A goal from Jenna Trejo put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 2-1 at the 53rd minute.
From there, the Lady Rebels fought to recover. But first half inconsistency resurfaced, leading to issues orchestrating runs.
Despite the issues, Hays had an opportunity as a shot from Gabi Elsner was saved in the 70th minute.
Seconds later, Bowie’s Whitney Johnson buried a long-range shot to close the scoring.
Hays completes the 2015 season at Anderson on March 14. Game time is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.