LANCASTER — The Lady Indians may be closing a tougher-than-normal season, but their on-field growth should have area soccer fans brimming with excitement.
So should Jacksonville State University.
Waxahachie High School dispatched Lancaster High School's Lady Tigers 12-2 Tuesday night at Beverly D. Humphrey Tiger Stadium and were powered by a record-setting performance by Abby Martinez.
It was a much-needed momentum, builder one game away from the 2017 offseason.
"Ending [the season] with a three-game winning streak would help a lot in going into offseason and next year. We are starting to finally get back a few players from injuries we have fought all year," said Jason Venable, the WHS head girls' soccer coach. "Viviana Gonzalez came back with a goal last night in her first game back after a broken collarbone from the first weekend's tournament. Cat Dunbar, one of our goalkeepers, will probably be released this week. Alyssa Stevens and Alex March have both returned after sitting a couple weeks. When healthy these wins will be confirmation when we are well and play together, our possibilities are very promising."
The Lady Indians scored seven of their 12 goals with five different players in the first half. It took less than three minutes for sophomore Danielle Kyle to net the Lady Indians' first goal with an assist from junior Klarissa Thomas and only 10 more for seniors Hannah Hendriks (from Danielle Kyle) and Kathleen Kyle (from Bridgette Sierra) to push the lead to 4-0 at the 12:47 mark.
The next four goals came via back-to-back-back-to-back goals from Martinez (from Duvall) and sophomore Savanah Duvall (from Thomas and Martinez).
Martinez, one of the team's nine seniors and a Jacksonville State commit, accounted for four of the second half goals and assisted the fifth. Gonzalez, the sixth scorer and a junior that began the season on the junior varsity roster, pounded one though the guard of the Lady Tiger goalkeeper at the 68:58-minute mark.
The shifty senior forward's second-half goal — the final of the game for Waxahachie — on a Sierra assist at the 76:36 mark not only sealed the rout for the streaking Lady Indians, but it also inked Martinez's name in the history books.
"I wouldn't say it was the best game I've ever played, but to not start either half and only play in half of the time in each — 36 minutes I think — and be able to score that many was pretty exciting," Martinez said about her double hat trick. "Going into the game I knew I had to score three to become the fourth highest scorer in Waxahachie Lady Indian soccer history so I wanted to score at least that much. When Coach Ven pulled me out before the end of the second half, all of my teammates on the bench were congratulating me. I really didn't realize it until he looked at me and said that was the record for most goals in a game. I instantly smiled and ran over and started celebrating with my teammates."
Her sixth goal shattered the five scored by Katie Hinds against Mabank High School in 2006 and the five scored by Emily Saunders against county rival Ennis High School in 2010, placing her 10 behind Hinds at No. 7 on the all-time single-season goals list.
Martinez's 24th tally of the season also made her the fourth-highest scorer in Waxahachie girls' soccer history behind Hinds (128), Emily Saunders (120) and Veronica Najera (68). Her 67 career goals entered her into an elite top five of a storied history of female Waxahachie girls that includes Hinds, Breann Morris, Brandi Battles, Natalie Kelly, Mackenzie Posey and Megan Gaither.
Before Martinez nailed her kick to the back of the Lady Tigers' net, the record stood for seven years. She is also fourth in career assists with 36 — two behind former Lady Indian Tierney Thomison.
"It's humbling to be a part of Waxahachie history," Martinez said. "It makes me happy to know that all my hard work in four years of playing high school soccer has paid off. Now there's something for people to remember me by."
Though her last game in green and white will come against Mansfield Lake Ridge High School at 7 p.m. Friday night at Vernon Newsome Stadium, the road to superstardom is wide open for the youth on Venable's budding roster.
Of the six girls that notched goals against Lancaster, only three were seniors. Kathleen's sister Danielle and Duvall are only sophomores and have scored 10 goals apiece this season.
"We can only hope the experience we are getting will benefit us in the near future," Venable said. "We've played six to seven sophomores at times these last few weeks and they had to adapt to the quicker varsity game and get in-game experience. We're also playing three to four juniors — some who have played since their freshmen year. We will have most of our players returning next season. We will be able to reflect on what happened this year and prepare to grow as a team in the same difficult district. Our junior varsity has been successful this year and we will look for some good competition and growth before we go into a new season.
Ten of the program's 12 years, the girls have gone into the playoffs. This year was disappointing to us all and we will do all we can the next eight to nine months to keep this from happening again. But we have Lake Ridge on Friday and a goal to have a much stronger showing with several of our players returning to the field."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.