CORSICANA – One goal down, several to go.
Heading in to the 2011 soccer season the Waxahachie Lady Indians knew they were going to be good. They had their sights set on winning the District 28-4A championship and at Tiger Stadium Friday night the goal was accomplished with a 4-1 win against Corsicana.
“It was one of our team’s goals to finish perfect this season, it feels awesome,” Waxahachie senior Danielle Tesei said. “Even though they scored on us I still think we finished strong as a team. The first half was not as good as the second half. We got it together in the second half, played together and started connecting passes like the team we are. It felt great to finish strong and show everybody we are the best.”
Waxahachie finished the regular season 18-1-4 and district play 9-0-1 while outscoring district opponents 66-2. Ennis scored a goal in the district opener before the Lady Indians had eight consecutive shut outs before Corsicana scored in the 32nd minute of Friday’s game.
“Unfortunately we gave up a goal, but we won by three which is what our goal was every game going into the season for goal differential,” Waxahachie head coach Jason Venable said. “There was a little let down after Tuesday’s game against Red Oak. There was not as much energy on the field as what we seen Tuesday for sure. I think they knew the district championship was theirs. There was a chance they would have been co-champs with a loss, but I don’t think they ever even felt like that was an option. It is good when you can play down and are still successful.”
After tying Red Oak 0-0 in the first meeting between the teams the Lady Indians won 5-0 Tuesday to break the tie atop the district standings. Win or lose Friday Waxahachie would be co-champs and the No. 1 seed, but there was no doubt Waxahachie wanted the title outright.
Less than two minutes into Friday’s game the Lady Indians took the lead as freshman forward Karleigh Hector worked the ball past the Corsicana defense and created a one-on-one opportunity with the Corsicana keeper.
Hector easily won the one-on-one opportunity to give Waxahachie a 1-0 lead in the second minute before junior Lindsey Williams put Waxahachie up 2-0 in the eighth minute.
Senior Natalie Kelly launched her first corner kick opportunity of the game toward the Corsicana goal that made its way through the crowd to Williams. Corsicana’s keeper tried to catch the ball before it reached Williams and missed giving Williams an open goal to lay it in.
With 8:57 left in the first half Corsicana stunned the Waxahachie crowd with a goal of its own on its second shot attempt of the game.
The score remained 2-1 at the half before Emily Saunders made it a 3-1 game with a goal in the 50th minute.
Saunders played the ball in close to the goal and drew the Corsicana keeper up before lifting the ball over her head for the goal.
In the 68th minute Saunders played the ball down to the left corner near the Corsicana goal before passing it up field to Hector who made the shot over the fallen Corsicana keeper for the game’s final goal.
“One of the best things about this year’s team is our scoring options. Last year we knew it had to be Jacey Hamilton or Emily scoring but this year we have a lot of people who can score. Both our freshmen are playing really well, Lindsey can score, Natalie can score and of course Jacey and Emily. We are not one or two dimensional like we have been in the past. It is going to be interesting,” Venable said.
With the undefeated district championship now in the bag the Lady Indians will move on to their next goal, reaching 20 wins.
“So far we are on track. This gives us 18 wins and now the next goal we are looking at is getting 20 wins. We have never had a 20-win season in school history. They are looking for things to keep them motivated, but I do not want to get to far ahead,” Venable said.
Waxahachie will play at Rockwall in a warm-up game Tuesday that does not count toward overall standings before opening the playoffs the week of March 28.
Already the bi-district champs due to teams from District 28-4A having a first round playoff bye, the Lady Indians will play Dallas area schools in the area and sectional playoffs before facing a school from East Texas in the regional quarterfinals April 4-5.
Two years ago Waxahachie lost to Longview in the regional quarterfinals before topping Longview Pine Tree last season to advance to the regional tournament. Both regional quarterfinal games were played in Eustace with the regional tournament being held in Carrollton.
“I was concerned with playing Ferris and Lancaster right before Red Oak being not in the right mindset against a good team but then I saw how well we showed up for Red Oak. I do not think you can play that intense every game because you will wear out. Certain games mean more and now that we are in the playoffs the intensity level will pick up with each game. They want to beat last year and now they have four games or so to do that. We are ready,” Venable said.
Waxahachie should surpass the 20-win mark against a Dallas area school with a win in the sectional playoffs before facing its toughest test in the regional quarterfinals.
Advancing to the regional tournament is the next goal for the team after 20 wins, but to surpass last year’s mark it will need to score at least one goal in the regional tournament and then win a game to write a new chapter into the Waxahachie High School varsity girls soccer history book.
“Mentally and physically we are ready for the playoffs. We are going to go in to it strong knowing that we have some tough competitors but we are ready,” Tesei said.