ENNIS – Samantha Gonzales does not have an answer as to what sparked her performance Tuesday night.
Maybe it was being stuck in a classroom all day taking part in standardized testing. Maybe it was the game being moved from Monday to Tuesday. Maybe it was coach Laurie Norrell’s return to the sideline.
Whatever it was, it worked.
Gonzales had two goals and three assists, helping Red Oak cruise past Ennis 5-0 for the team’s fourth shutout win in five district games. When asked if something special brought on the effort, Gonzales searched for an answer but no avail.
“Not really. We had TAKS today but I don’t think that would have made me do any better,” Gonzales said with a laugh. “I felt in it today.”
At the outset, that didn’t appear to be the case for the whole team.
Red Oak (7-5-4, 4-0-1 district) limped through the first 20 minutes of the match, struggling to find much consistency. The team got on track at the 18:31 mark when Gonzales hit teammate Marissa Perez with a pass that she turned into the first goal of the game. It was the spark that lit the fire.
Gonzales scored her first goal less than three minutes later and then assisted a Paige McMillan goal three minutes after that as the team jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead.
Coincidentally the surge happened after Norrell arrived a few minutes late to the game after taking her newborn baby daughter to her first doctor’s appointment.
“Once we settled down and started playing our game we looked amazing. It was just getting that focus after the first 10 minutes,” Norrell said. “Ennis is a good team. They’re one of those teams they can sneak by you, they really can. If you’re not on your A-game, they’re going to give it to you. When I walked up it was 0-0 and I was really worried.”
Red Oak eliminated any chance of a would-be comeback early in the second half when Gonzales scored her second of the game at just six minutes in.
A little over two minutes later, she sent in a corner kick that teammate Lauren Hunter headed in for the final goal of the game.
The win marked the fourth multi-goal district game of the season, something the Lady Hawks were worried might not be the case earlier in the season. With a slew of seniors leaving and some key players not returning, Red Oak’s offense was a big question mark coming into the season.
While there are still some kinks to work out, things appear to be heading in the right direction.
“At first, it was a little rough. But we got it together. Now everybody’s gelling together and everything’s good,” Gonzales said.
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