Odessa High senior striker Alondra Venegas seized her moment.
On a corner kick with seven minutes to go in the Lady Bronchos’ game against Abilene Wylie, Venegas watched teammate Malarie Ramirez send the ball from the corner arc into the center of the goalie box.
Venegas ran to that spot and redirected the ball with a header into the back of the net to lift her team to a 1-0 victory Tuesday night at Ratliff Stadium.
It was the third straight victory for the Lady Bronchos.
“We’re tied 0-0 and we have to make every ball count, so with this corner kick, we have to make something happen … I knew we had to finish that corner,” Venegas said about her mindset right before her goal.
Venegas said she knew which areas in the penalty box Ramirez usually delivers corner kicks to and ran to one.
A few steps before Venegas jumped to head the ball, Abilene Wylie’s Blayre O’Donald tried to cut off any path for a Lady Bronchos attacker to get a shot off by clearing the ball away.
Unluckily for O’Donald, the ball went slightly over her and onto Venegas’ head, which knocked the ball in between Lady Bulldogs’ goalkeeper Arianna Taylor and the post.
“I knew I had to run in to make something count,” Venegas added.
Odessa High (8-4-0) won the game despite only scoring once thanks to lockdown defense from the Lady Bronchos’ backline.
“I thought it was a very competitive game, it put a lot of pressure on our defense,” Odessa High head coach Cecilia Kellar said. “They were playing with two quality strikers high, so it really tested us.”
Kellar particularly praised sophomore center back Lyvani Ross, who anchored Odessa High’s defense that bent, but not break, at the goal-scoring chances from the Lady Bulldogs.
“I think Lyvani was big for us tonight and like I told her, she played at another level tonight; which I don’t think she had been put under quite that pressure lately,” Kellar said. “So to see her be put under that pressure and really come through, step up over and over again and be consistent in the back really means a lot for our defense.”
Offensively, the Lady Bronchos had their chances to score more than a lone goal, but were either denied by Taylor, another Lady Bulldogs’ defender, or couldn’t finish the chance presented to them.
However, it was a step up in competition for Odessa High, as it had scored 11 combined goals in its two previous games.
“I think we created some good opportunities for ourselves and we definitely have to make sure we put away those opportunities, especially the ones inside the PK area, we definitely have to execute at a higher level there,” Kellar said.
The Lady Bronchos knew they don’t have much of a safety net anymore, as the win over Abilene Wylie was their penultimate nondistrict game.
Kellar said her team learned a lot about itself against the Lady Bulldogs.
“They put us under pressure,” Venegas said about Abilene Wylie. “They are a quality team that made us defend better.”
Venegas added that the style the Lady Bulldogs play is similar to what Odessa High will encounter with District 2-6A opponents such as Midland High and Permian.