Lady War Eagles turn back Klein Oak
TOMBALL, Texas - The Oak Ridge Lady War Eagles continued their playoff mastery over the Klein Oak Lady Panthers in a rain-plagued girls’ soccer match here on Thursday night.
Freshman Kaylee Hayes scores game-winner
But the Lady War Eagles’ thrilling 3-2 Region II-5A bi-district playoff win didn’t come without a pair of never-say-die comebacks.
“This was a huge win for us,’’ said Oak Ridge head coach Jim Collins, who also guided the Lady War Eagles to a 1-0 playoff victory over Klein Oak in the 2013 bi-district playoffs. “They have a very good team.’’
Klein Oak, which entered the playoffs as the third seed out of District 13-5A, jumped to a quick 1-0 lead when Taylor Piembert blasted a shot that tipped off the fingertips of Oak Ridge goalie Angelina Batiste and into the top of the net with 37:03 left in the first half.
One minute later, Oak Ridge’s Janneth Tello took a bouncing ball that had ricocheted off Klein Oak goalie Alicia Moore and pounded it into top left corner to knot the game at 1-1.
“That was huge for us,’’ Collins said. “To come back one minute later and tie the game, that was really important for us.’’
Klein Oak carried a 2-1 lead into halftime after Carolina Aguilar smashed a left-footed goal from 25 yards out with 20:05 left in the first half. Batiste looked like she slipped on the soggy turf trying to make the play. The match was played in a driving mist for much of the contest.
“The girls just had to relax,’’ Collins said. “They were so uptight (in the first half). We told them to relax and have fun.’’
Collins moved three players up to the front and the Lady War Eagles started to control the midfield in the final 40 minutes.
Taylor Heilig tied the match at 2-2 when her left-footed shot hit the right goal post and banked back in the goal with 36:38 left.
Freshman Kaylee Hayes ripped a left-footed shot from the top of the goalie box that beat Moore to the right side of the net with 24:50 to give Oak Ridge its first lead of the night. Moore looked like she was expecting an Oak Ridge player to redirect the shot and simply overran the ball trying to make the save.
“Hats off to our freshman,’’ Collins said. “She hit a big ball from the left side and it found the net.’’
Oak Ridge, which finished second to The Woodlands in District 14-5A, played just enough defense over the final 20 minutes to preserve the victory and improve to 13-6-2 on the season.
Klein Oak finished 14-8-1.
The Lady War Eagles next will take on Austin Westlake in an area-round match on Friday, April 4. The match won’t be played on Monday or Tuesday because of state testing.
“We have played against tough competition all year,’’ Collins said. “This is the time of year it really pays off.’’