The Odessa High girls soccer team needed plan against a potent Midland High offense Friday night at Ratliff Stadium.
A well-timed combination of offense and defense proved to be just the remedy to keep the Lady Bulldogs at bay, which in turn led to one of Odessa High’s more impressive victories this season.
Odessa High downed Midland High 3-0 on goals from Lesli Diaz, Miranda Cardona and Maya Sanchez.
“I definitely think it’s a great step in the right direction,” Odessa High head coach Cecilia Kellar said. “I think they just keep improving and they’re really coming into their own, finding their rhythm.
“It was an aggressive game and I thought they really stood up to the challenge today.”
Midland High’s formation can give a lot of teams trouble with three forwards pressing high up the field at any chance they get.
Playing in the central striker role was senior Kylie VonHolle, who came into the contest with 24 goals this season. However, she was shut out by the Lady Bronchos’ backline.
“They play with three much higher than a lot of the other teams do,” Kellar said about Midland High. “We were just prepared for that, playing a little smarter where sometimes we press a little harder and higher. We were just a little more cautious and aware of the numbers up top. Defensively they did a great job of executing.”
Leading the Odessa High backline in the game was sophomore Lyvani Ross, who wasn’t afraid to get physical to clear balls away from the Lady Bronchos’ net.
“We were pushing up a lot more and not giving them as much room to turn,” Ross said.
That defensive pressure gave Odessa High (13-5-0 overall, 3-1-1-0 district, 11 points) plenty of opportunities on the counterattack, with plenty of Midland High players having to run back on defense.
Those fastbreaks led to the game’s opening goal in the 24th minute. Alondra Venegas took a shot from 10 yards away from goal, which Lady Bulldogs’ goalkeeper Allison Robinson dived to save. That left the rebound to roll into Diaz’s path, who easily slotted the ball into the net.
Odessa High maintained the one-goal lead for nearly 50 minutes, with Midland High (10-3-3, 3-2-0-0, nine points) playing increasingly direct at goal to find an equalizer.
The Lady Bronchos didn’t relent and kept the Lady Bulldogs at bay long enough to take a two-goal lead with under nine minutes to play in the game.
That’s when Jamie Natividad found space near the corner flag and crossed the ball into the penalty box. The ball went over Robinson’s outstretched hands, where Cardona met the cross and headed the ball into the net from about two yards out.
“You saw us kind of just take a breath, you could almost see it out there,” Kellar said. “You saw things become more fluid for us from there and I think that’s really what opened it up for that third goal.”
The game’s final goal came when Ross got a rare chance to attack, as she connected a few passes and got the assist as Sanchez scored with two minutes left in the contest.
“It’s a great win,” Ross said. “We know what we can do and what we need to do for our next game and just on this bye week to stay focused. I think we can keep working and improve some things, but I think we played a very solid game tonight and we need to keep it up.”
The victory gives the Lady Bronchos eight wins in their last nine games. Odessa High returns to action on March 6 after District 2-6A is off next week.
(Overall records in parentheses)
W L SW SL Pts
Frenship (13-2-1)……… 4 0 0 0 12
Odessa High (13-5-0). 3 1 1 0 11
Midland High (10-3-3). 3 2 0 0 9
Permian (13-4-1)……… 2 2 0 1 7
Midland Lee (8-7-1)…. 0 4 1 0 2
Tascosa (3-8-4)………. 0 3 0 1 1
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
Odessa High 3, Midland High 0
Permian 1, Midland Lee 0
Amarillo Tascosa at Wolfforth Frenship, Noon
Midland High at Permian, 5:30 p.m.
Odessa High at Wolfforth Frenship, 5:30 p.m.
Amarillo Tascosa at Midland Lee, 5:30 p.m.