The Steers and Lady Blues football teams completed the first half of their district schedule on Monday, February 20 at Mineral Wells High School. The Lady Blues bounced back from last week’s loss to Burkburnett with a 2-0 win over the Lady Rams. The Steers are still looking for their first district win of the season following a 2-1 loss to the Rams.
Sophie Schlieper found the back of the net early for the Lady Blues and the team have never looked back. With the Lady Blues coming through possession and putting the Lady Rams out, Schlieper stole the ball 29 yards from goal down the right side in the offensive third of the field and scored from 23 yards to the right side of the net.
Defensively, the Lady Blues dominated the Lady Rams, allowing only two shots.
Schlieper almost scored his second goal of the game five minutes into the second half. His 30-yard shot was saved by the Lady Rams goalkeeper over the crossbar. Schlieper’s double off Katy Mills’ assist came less than four minutes later with a goal from 25 yards out with 31:19 left in the game. Despite scoring just two goals, the Lady Blues had one of the best shooting nights of the season with 9 out of 16 shots on target. The Lady Rams were forced into one shot on target, in the middle parts of the second half.
Neither Taylor Lauster nor Vivian Gutierrez saw a challenge from the Lady Rams. Gutierrez came on for Lauster late in the second half to gain playing time.
“I feel like we came out with a lot more intensity and kept that intensity going the whole game,” said Lady Blues coach Misty Mills. “I felt we played as a team tonight and not as a group of individuals and when you play like that you usually come out ahead on the scoreboard.”
With the win, the Lady Blues achieved double-digit wins for the first time in program history. This season’s 10 wins already surpassed the program’s previous wins record after a rocky start in previous seasons.
After the first half of the district schedule, Wichita Falls High School sits atop District 4-4A with a 4-0 record. The Lady Coyotes outscored their opponents 35-1 in four games. Burkburnett is in second place at 3-1. The Lady Blues are third with a 2-2 record and a -1 goal difference. Mineral Wells is fourth at 1-3. Hirschi is 0-4.
The Lady Blues have consecutive road races to start the second half of the district schedule. On Friday, the team travels to Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls for a 5:30 p.m. game with the Lady Coyotes. The team will return to Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, February 28 to face Hirschi.
Rams 2, Steers 1
After a scoreless first half, the Rams and Steers combined for three goals in a physical second half. The Steers controlled the pace of play in the first half, earning three corners in the opening 10 minutes of the game.
Lucio Arvizu sent a cross into the box to Easton Hedge for the Steers’ first challenge against the Rams goalkeeper. The cross just missed. Bryan Sanchez had a shot on goal five minutes later. Sanchez, in the defensive third, saves a goal from a corner kick. His header with 5:12 left in the half prevented the Rams’ first goal of the night.
Jesus Lucio challenged the goalkeeper with a minute left in the half with a shot from 20 metres.
Coming off in the second half, Jace Gill had a shot on goal just under three minutes into the half. Moments later, the Rams scored their first goal of the night. The Steers came close to equalizing three minutes later when Yair Gonzalez connected with Lucio from a shot which went to the right side of the net.
The Steers’ tie came with 11:30 left in the game. With a foul called in the penalty area in the Steers’ offensive third, Lucio lined up to take the penalty, scoring just to the left of the goalkeeper.
Seven minutes later, the Steers’ problems clearing the area in their defensive third came back to haunt them. A 24-yard shot ricocheted into the arms of goaltender Owen Gage. The Rams scored on the rebound to take the lead.
“We don’t throw out a ball and it bounces and we don’t look at it, then they drive it in,” said Steers coach Tim Wankowicz. “It’s just the same song, different lines. We tried different defenders in there. We worked on it in practice. We have the numbers in there. Many times we will have three, four or five guys behind us. They will have two or three and still get to the ball first. They don’t let it happen in front of their box (…) I thought we understood. In the second half against (Burkburnett) we gave up zero chances. We didn’t have any problems in the first half (tonight), we just had a mental breakdown.”
After four district games, the Steers sit at the bottom of District 4-4A with an 0-4 record. Wichita Falls High School and Hirschi both hold 3-1 records, with Wichita Falls holding a +4 goal difference and head-to-head tiebreaker advantages over Hirschi. Burkburnett and Mineral Wells each hold 2-2 records. Burkburnett holds the head-to-head lead over Mineral Wells with a win over the Rams on Tuesday, February 14.
The Steers have back-to-back road races to start the second half of the district schedule. On Friday, the team travels to Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls for a 7:30 p.m. game with the Coyotes. The team will return to Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, February 28 to face Hirschi.