WAXAHACHIE — Before the Indians continued their undefeated tirade through the boys' soccer season with a win against the Tigers, Waxahachie's girls set the tone and trend for a Senior Night sweep.
That the Lady Indians stayed in the district 10-5A hunt with Friday night's win against Lancaster High School was one thing. Shutting out the Lady Tigers 12-0 at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium was entirely another.
"Beating Lancaster ultimately left us sitting in the middle of the pack," said Jason Venable, the head girls' soccer coach at Waxahachie High School. "That's a good thing. A win Tuesday versus Lake Ridge can put us above .500 at the midpoint of district play and back in the discussion for the playoffs. Either way, we will need to have a better record during our second half to have a good shot at finishing in the top four."
With the victory, Waxahachie moved to 8-5-1 overall and 3-3 in the district standings and into fifth place behind Midlothian, Mansfield Legacy, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Red Oak High Schools and second place in goals scored with 23.
Though the Lady Indians piled up a season-high amount of goals, it was Savannah Duvall that sparked the charge. Her breakaway, streak down the field at the 30:58 mark sparked a run of four goals in less than four minutes.
It was also the first of three-goals for the sophomore midfielder.
After Duvall's slick kick that slid past the Lancaster goalkeeper's reach and found space between her fingers and the right bar of the goal, scoring came early and often for Waxahachie.
In the first half, the varsity girls scored seven of their goals via sniper-like shots from Duvall, seniors Abby Martinez (2) and Hannah Hendriks (2) and sophomore Danielle Kyle (1). Lady Indians scored five more goals in the second half — including the first of the season for assist leader Ariana Acosta.
"It was the greatest feeling," Acosta said with a smile. "I've had to deal with a lot of frustration as far as scoring goes and it has been a battle not to allow all of the frustration and negative energy affect my game. Winning on Senior Night was a big part of that because everything more is fun when we're at ease. The game's something we truly can enjoy because we get to play and cheer for each other and the seniors that have a few short months until graduation. Now, there's a lot of positive energy in the air. I'm really excited to feed off that energy going into the match against Mansfield Lake Ridge."
Venable, who has seen her help bolster the attacking styles and goal scoring of Duvall and Martinez with her eye-popping assist ability, said it was a joy to watch Acosta notch one of her own.
"I wanted Ariana to score on her Senior Night. She is an All-State player from a year ago and a big part of what we do," Venable added. "The first goal for her this season was special to all of us, but we plan on her getting several more before the end of the season."
Waxahachie's grizzled veteran girls' coach credited his senior class — which has made the UIL 5A postseason in back-to-back-to-back seasons — with being a big part of the program's success and its rebound during an injury-plagued season.
Danielle, who scored her second goal of the night on a pass from Kathleen Kyle, her older sister and a Waxahachie senior, said the team's growth while weathering the adversity of a string of season-sending injuries has been monumental.
"We have learned from our mistakes and improved to become a better team," Danielle said. "Through that and Coach Venable's teaching, we have bonded in our on-field communication and we connect better on and off the field. I believe it's something we'll continue to improve during the season and something that's going to help us win games later."
Both Duvall and Martinez posted "hat trick" three-goal performances and Danielle and Hendriks finished with two goals apiece, helping Waxahachie win its second consecutive game since snapping a three-game slide last Tuesday. The Lady Indians also outscored their last two opponents 21-4.
The girls in green also got a shutout, shutdown performance from Katelynn Glenn and a defense that first limited Lancaster's scoring opportunities then snuffed out — on a diving left-handed save from the senior goalkeeper — a late-match rally to score its only goal.
The Lady Indians will face Mansfield Lake Ridge High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. A win against the (9-2-3, 4-1-1) Lady Eagles, which are in second behind first place Red Oak High School, would offer Waxahachie to remain in a two-way tie for third place with Midlothian.
"It would put us at 4-3 going into the second half [of district play]," Venable said. "[A victory] will also prove to the rest of the district we cannot be taken lightly. A loss is not something we need after two wins in a row. We will have to finish district with better the record than we had during the first half to end the season the way we want to."
The Lady Panthers face a Lancaster team that has allowed 38 goals in its last three games.