Lady Bulldogs battle in Bi-District Championship
By Brady Keane BCC Contributor
As we mentioned in a preview article at the beginning of this year's soccer season, the 2013-2014 Lady Bulldogs were a completely new team this year after losing almost all 11 starters from last season's team. However, the ladies showed tremendous heart throughout the season and eventually beat the top district team in Uvalde to finish off the regular season and secure a playoff spot.
"Looking back on the season, I feel a tremendous amount of pride because the girls accomplished so much and had to overcome so many obstacles," head coach Adam Spiegleman said.
In his first year as the Lady Bulldogs soccer coach, Spiegleman worked hard with the ladies to get them to realize their full potential, and help lead a very young squad to the playoffs this year.
"He helped me with a lot of things since it was my first season in a really long time to play, and he got me back into the swing of things," junior Kate Martin said. "He always believed in us and always told us how proud he was which really helped me want to work even harder."
Despite only getting one year with Spiegleman at the helm of the program, the Lady Bulldog seniors were grateful for his impact on them this season.
"He impacted my season tremendously," senior Taylor Schultz said. "Without him as our coach, I probably would have gone crazy this season. He brought us together as a team and taught us to do what no one thought was possible for us. Even when we drove him crazy, he always made things fun for us."
Although the Lady Bulldogs season ended in heartbreaking fashion to Burbank in the Bi-District Championship game last Tuesday night, the loss certainly didn't define a hard fought season.
"I would say that the results of our season came out better than we originally expected," Senior Lyric Parker said. "We fought hard all season, and although the loss hurts, we know we left it all out on the field."
The game against Burbank was played in the same way that many of the Lady Bulldogs games were this season. The ladies defense was suffocating and overcame several Burbank opportunities to go into halftime tied 0-0.
"I told the team that we were capable of playing better, and that we needed to control the ball more than we did," Spiegleman said. "Once we did that in the second half, we were able to score."
The second half opened up with an increased offensive intensity by the Lady Bulldogs, as the ladies were able to put a goal into the net on a corner kick from senior Cheyenne Jenkins. The goal gave the Lady Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with 23 minutes left in the second half.
"I cannot explain how happy I was when the ball went in," Jenkins said. "I was and still am so proud of our team and myself for scoring the first goal of that game. I couldn't ask for better teammates this season."
As the game got closer to the final buzzer, the stadium grew louder and the ladies play on the field got more intense as well. Senior goalie Amber Delgado saved multiple shots on goal and sophomore Emma DeGoes made an outstanding defensive play to save a goal as well. However, Burbank was able to slip by with only two minutes left, and scored to send the game into overtime.
"Before we went into overtime, I told them to live in the moment and embrace the situation," Spiegleman said. "I did not want them thinking ahead."
The Lady Bulldogs went into two ten minute overtime periods, and the defense fought hard, unwilling to let Burbank get on the board again. After the overtimes, the game went into a penalty shootout that the Lady Bulldogs fell just short in.
"For our returning players, the playoff experience is very crucial," sophomore Annie Fritz said. "Next year, the teams in our new district will be much like the team we faced and the teams we would have faced deeper in the playoffs. It gives us a look at the things we need to improve on next season."
The Lady Bulldogs truly had a successful season, and the leadership of this year's senior class was vital not only to success this season, but for building a foundation for the next several seasons.
"This year was very important because we were able to have success despite losing 11 seniors from last season," Spiegleman said. "The expectation of this program is to be good year in and year out, and our players understand that."