The Odessa High girls soccer team knew it was going to be in for a tough test Friday night in its District 2-6A opener against Wolfforth Frenship.
The Lady Tigers didn’t drop a point in district play a season ago and returned plenty of faces from that team which advanced to the regional semifinals.
The Lady Bronchos held their own, but couldn’t find the back of the net on their scoring chances. At the same time, Wolfforth Frenship junior striker Natalie Jones didn’t miss hers.
Jones scored twice to hand Wolfforth Frenship its district-opening 2-0 victory over Odessa High at Ratliff Stadium.
“We know (Frenship’s) pretty good at making you pay for your mistakes and (Jones) did a good job of that,” Odessa High head coach Cecilia Kellar said.
Jones didn’t wait long to open the scoring, as she did so 46 seconds in. After Odessa High’s defense turned the ball over, Jones got a breakaway against Lady Bronchos’ junior goalkeeper Catalina Ulate.
Jones blasted the shot on goal and Ulate got her fingertips to the ball, but couldn’t stop it from hitting the back of the net.
From the film she watched, Ulate said she expected to face a lot of shots from the Lady Tigers’ offense.
“Through nondistrict, I didn’t have that much action, so come today I was really nervous,” Ulate said.
After giving up that first-minute goal, Ulate and the rest of Odessa High’s defense settled in and kept Wolfforth Frenship at bay for the rest of the first half.
Odessa High (9-5-0 overall, 0-1-0-0 District 2-6A, zero points) came close to falling behind by two on a few occasions however, as Wolfforth Frenship hit the post and crossbar one time each before the game was 40 minutes old.
“We’re pretty young so a few of the girls got to see that pace of the game,” Kellar said about playing in a district opener. “And so it was a learning experience just for our younger ones period just being in this game. The feeling of knowing how important it is and what’s on the line and having that pressure added on to you is really something that some of them took and put it on them and ran with it and others kind of struggled with.”
Ulate finished the game with 11 saves but couldn’t find a way to keep Jones from scoring once more.
In the 51st minute, Jones dribbled around a few Lady Broncho defenders and took a high-arcing shot that dipped under the crossbar and over Ulate’s fingers for the game’s second goal.
Wolfforth Frenship (10-2-1, 1-0-0-0, three points) couldn’t find another goal the rest of the game. However, Odessa High came close to a breakthrough on a few occasions, but didn’t find its first goal of district play.
“We were very much in the game,” Kellar said. “I thought we created a lot of opportunities there at the end, so I was happy to see that.
“It’s hard to say to you played a good game and come out like that. But I think it’s a good lesson learned and the girls know how hard we have to work in this district to get a win.”
Lady Tigers’ head coach Gery Joy said after the game that he had a few players sit out of the game with injuries and sickness.
“We were trying some different things to kind of remedy that,” Joy said. “You can kind of see we were playing in spurts.”
The reigning district champions did enough to snap Odessa High’s four-game win streak. Before Odessa High returns to action Tuesday at home against Amarillo Tascosa, Kellar knows her team will keep things in perspective, as there are nine regular-season games left.
“You never want to start district with a loss, but we saw a lot of good things,” Kellar said.
“Knowing my team, we learn from our mistakes,” Ulate added. “From every mistake we make, we know how to fix it.”
(Overall records in parentheses)
W L SW SL Pts
Frenship (10-2-1)……… 1 0 0 0 3
Midland High (8-1-3)… 1 0 0 0 3
Midland Lee (7-3-1)…. 0 0 0 0 0
Tascosa (3-4-4)………. 0 0 0 0 0
Odessa High (9-5-0)… 0 1 0 0 0
Permian (11-2-1)……… 0 1 0 0 0
Standings note: Regulation wins (W) worth three points; shootout wins (SW) worth two points); shootout losses (SL) worth one point;
regulation losses (L) worth zero points.
d-Clinched District 2-6A title
x-Clinched playoff berth
Wolfforth Frenship 2, Odessa High 0
Midland High 3, Permian 0
Midland Lee at Amarillo Tascosa, Noon
Amarillo Tascosa at Odessa High, 5:30 p.m.
Permian at Wolfforth Frenship, 5:30 p.m.
Midland High at Midland Lee, 5:30 p.m.