CEDAR HILL – This has been quite a week for coach Laurie Norrell, one she will never forget.
The week started off with a 7-2 playoff victory for her Lady Hawks soccer team over Seguin Monday night, followed by the birth of her first child Tuesday. It finally ended with a 1-0 win over cross-county rival Midlothian, especially sweet because the Lady Panthers bounced Red Oak from the playoffs last year.
“Chaotic,” Norrell said in describing this week.
Only three days after giving birth, Norrell was on the sidelines as the Lady Hawks got the win they have been looking for all season - the match with Midlothian to avenge last season’s playoff loss.
“I thought we played with a lot of heart,” Norrell said. “Midlothian knocked us out the playoffs in this round last year. We’ve been looking to this game.”
The Lady Hawks shot-at- revenge started off slow as Midlothian dominated most of the first half. Red Oak struggled to get any shot attempts off as their duo up top, Brandi Smith and Lorina Salinas, combined for only two shots.
Fortunately for the Lady Hawks, one of those shots proved to be the game winner.
In the 32nd minute, Salinas tucked in her shot in the bottom left corner of the goal. The senior forward was able to get her shot off after multiple attempts in the Lady Panthers’ penalty area.
Before falling behind 1-0, the Lady Panthers controlled possession and dictated the tempo but was unable to convert on their numerous opportunities.
In the fourth minute, the Lady Panthers missed out on a chance to get on the scoreboard first. Forward Samantha Mayfield sent her attempt wide right after receiving a corner kick from midfielder Brittany Ramirez.
Five minutes later, a chip pass into the box landed at the feet of forward Brittany Layne who sent her attempt wide left over the crossbar.
It wasn’t until the 26th minute that the Lady Hawks were finally able to get a quality shot on goal.
Red Oak’s leading scorer Brandi Smith took a through ball from the midfield and ripped a shot towards the goal but was denied after the Lady Panthers’ goalkeeper Lindsey Sisco was able to come up with the save.
After halftime, the game remained the same as the Lady Panthers continued to apply pressure on the Lady Hawks’ defense.
One of the best chances for tying the game up came in the early minutes of the second half.
Layne drilled a shot from 30-yards out that nicked the top of the left crossbar on its way over.
As the game wore on, the Lady Hawks appeared to be inspired by their fans and the Red Oak faithful came out in full force. A percussion band, cheerleaders and a plethora of fans could be heard throughout the game supporting their team with songs and chants.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crowd for a girls soccer game,” Norrell said. “I don’t think they (the fans) realize how much they mean to the girls. It makes them (the team) feel like they are really doing something.”
In the final minutes of the second half, as Red Oak’s fans were going into a frenzy, the Lady Panthers scrambled and franticly tried to find a way to get their first goal, but it was to no avail.
The effort of defenders Amanda Bonner and Reanna Jacob, as well as, sweeper Bridgette Hammonds were able to hold off the Lady Panthers from scoring the equalizer and help advanced their team further into the playoffs.
Norrell credits the support of everyone with the Red Oak ISD, including boys’ coach Trent Kutch for helping her team through this unique situation.
“We’ve talked about this at the beginning of the season,” Norrell said. “The girls have had to have extra responsibly and they’ve stepped up.”
As for the Lady Panthers, this loss would mark the second consecutive defeat coach Austin Guest suffered from his former team. Last week, the Midlothian boys’ team suffered an identical 1-0 loss to the Red Oak boys’ squad.
The Lady Hawks will face J.J. Pearce in a regional semifinal match up. The location and time has yet to be determined.
Red Oak 10 - 1
Midlothian 0 0 - 0
Red Oak: Salinas (32)
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