By Moses Leos III
For 80 minutes Friday, the Lehman Lady Lobo soccer team went toe-to-toe against the 14-6A powerhouse Lake Travis Cavaliers, forcing a penalty kick shootout.
While Lake Travis defeated Lehman 3-0 in the shootout, head coach Nauri Garcia lauded his team’s ability to hold its own against the Cavaliers.
“It’s not as big as beating Hays, because Hays is our rival…but because of the powerhouse they (Lake Travis) are, it’s big,” Garcia said. “It shows the girls played with a lot of pride and passion, and drives the belief we can play with those guys.”
Garcia said the Lady Lobos’ game plan was to “run the entire game, make it a sprint the whole way through.”
He did so by playing two forwards high up in their attack. On the defense side, Garcia said the Lady Lobos worked to mark two of Lake Travis’ dangerous forwards with their two best defenders.
“We shut them out like we wanted to and get the other girls to push up (the field),” Garcia said. “Everyone kept their shape and form, and they bought into what we were doing.”
Lehman High forward Alexis Sanchez said the team was moving on the same page during the course of the game.
“We all wanted (to win),” Sanchez said. “So, we all kept fighting, no matter where the ball was.”
Lehman took Lake Travis into a scoreless draw at intermission. Lake Travis, however, came out of the intermission set on breaking the stalemate.
The Cavaliers pushed the pace, bringing numbers up to overwhelm the Lehman defense. It allowed Lake Travis to keep possession and rattle off numerous shots. Lake Travis tallied 11 shots, with 7 of those on goal. Lehman’s offense only mustered 7 shots in the second half.
“It was Lake Travis pushing numbers up on us, Garcia said. “Not that we want to stay back, but it was Lake Travis.”
Enter Lehman goalkeeper Maya Erwin, who thwarted Lake Travis’ various attempts to score a go-ahead goal.
Erwin said the Lady Lobos worked to play at their own pace, and that they didn’t “let (Lake Travis) determine it.” Garcia credited his goalkeeper by saying she “stepped it up.”
She showed her prowess by coming through with critical saves in the second half to keep the match scoreless.
“I’ve got to zone everyone out and trust my defenders,” Erwin said on going one-on-one with an attacking player. “If I save it, they (my defense) always have my back for the rebound. There’s a lot of trust with it.”
Erwin’s heroics, along with stout defense, pushed the game into the penalty kick shootout. Lake Travis, however, buried its first three attempts, while Lehman missed three times.
Despite the loss, Sanchez said the victory showed the progress of the program.
“It shows how much our program is improving, how much we’re coming together,” she said.