GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High peaking at the right time - Odessa American: Sports

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: Odessa High peaking at the right time

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 4:48 pm

It took until the final day of the regular season, but the Odessa High girls soccer team found a way to get itself back into the postseason.

Now that that business is done, the Lady Bronchos want to make sure their stay in the playoffs is not a short one.

The first team — a matchup with El Paso Socorro in the Class 6A bi-district round at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex in Artesia, N.M.

The winner of that game will face the winner of the Arlington High-Richland matchup in the area round.

Heading into the playoffs for the third straight season, head coach Cecilia Kellar is confident about where her team is at mentally.

“The girls are feeling pretty good about where they are,” Kellar said. “They’ve had a few days to recover and get some extra work on conditioning and do other things that we don’t have as much time for during district play.”

That recovery time has given the Lady Bronchos a chance to reflect on what they’ve accomplished so far.

After defeating Midland Lee 1-0 on March 19 to clinch a playoff spot, Odessa High also clinched the No. 3 seed out of District 2-6A by virtue of Midland High’s loss to Wolfforth Frenship.

That resiliency to pull out that close win was a byproduct of the team coming together.

“We’re close both on and off the field,” junior forward Maya Sanchez said. “It took some time for us to connect and get to that point but I’m glad that we’ve come a long way with that and we can rely on each other.”

When a team starts to build that chemistry, there can be that one moment where everything starts falling into place.

For the players, that moment came in their first district game against rival Permian.

Even though the game ended in a 1-1 tie, it marked a turning point in showing the Lady Bronchos what they were capable of.

“That was a big game for us,” senior midfielder Malarie Ramirez said. “We just worked through some things and that’s where I felt we started to click.”

Ramirez and Sanchez have both been integral parts of the Lady Bronchos’ attack. While Yareli Barrera leads the team with 10 goals this season, Cassandra Ramirez, Miranda Cardona and Sanchez each have scored nine times, making Odessa High a multi-faceted team.

“We’ve had a number of different players find the back of the net for us all year,” Kellar said. “It’s nice when you don’t have to rely on just one person and they don’t have to deal with all the pressure.

“We have multiple options to go to and I think that’s what makes us a well-rounded team and capable of doing some really good things.”

The hope now for the Lady Bronchos is that they can carry that success over against a Lady Bulldogs team that they are familiar with.

Odessa High defeated Socorro 2-0 on Jan. 12 at the PrimeWest Mortgage Kick-Off Classic in Lubbock and will be looking for a similar result this time around with more on the line.

“They’re a very strong team and they’re very aggressive,” Sanchez said. “In the end, it will just come down to who wants it more.”

“I think it helps us to draw back on what we did that the last time we played them and what we can improve on this time around,” Kellar said. “We have an idea of what we’ll be facing after playing them this season.

“Things change but they’re still a tough, physical team and it should be a great game.”