Lady Tigers blank McCallum to advance in playoffs

The McCallum Knights’ defensive integrity was compromised Friday as the Dripping Springs Tigers’ girls soccer team pushed the ball further into the penalty box.

A Knights defender tried to clear a cross from the goal, but instead deflected the ball into the left corner of the net for the Tigers’ second goal of the match.

The self-inflicted goal proved to be the final score Friday night in the Dripping Springs’ 2-0 playoff victory over the visiting McCallum Knights.

Dripping Springs’ Olivia Bonner (6) and Cailey England (3) try to score goal on a corner kick by the Lady Tigers in a bidistrict playoff game last Friday at Tiger Stadium. (photo by Wayland D. Clark)

“Good first round win,” Dripping Springs coach Lindsey Abel said. “I think we left them in the game a little too long. We could’ve taken care of some opportunities early on in the game, which I would have liked to see, but they played tough throughout the matchup. It’s a good win for us.”

Dripping Springs’ freshman Chloe Sansalone (16) and a McCallum player battle for a header in a Bi-district playoff game last Friday at Tiger Stadium. (photo by Wayland D. Clark)

By and large, the result was not surprising. Dripping Springs dominated time of possession, pinging the ball from side-to-side as McCallum was on the defensive for much of the game.
Dripping Springs attempted 16 shots, including nine on goal, while the Knights created just four shots in the entire match.

But McCallum was within one goal until the last few minutes. The Tigers scored its first goal 13 minutes into the match on a well-placed corner kick from Jessica Carmichael to Olivia Bonner, who tapped the high-arcing pass into the back of the net.

“After we scored that first goal, we had some relief and then we backed off a bit,” Abel said. “We just gotta be focused and engaged and stay intense for 80 minutes.”

Neither team scored during the ensuing 63 minutes following Bonner’s goal. The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to put the finishing touches on a blowout victory, but could not gain separation until McCallum assisted with an own goal.

“We needed to capitalize on our opportunities,” Abel said. “If we are going to continue to win, we have to make sure those go in the back of the net.”

Abel said the team changed its offensive tactics in order to induce more pressure on the Knights’ back line in the second half. It worked, she said, though it didn’t result in more goals.

“Sometimes that’s the way the game goes, unfortunately,” Abel said. “It’s just one of those things where things don’t go your way. Hopefully next time we’ll finish those opportunities.”

McCallum didn’t stand much of a chance against the Tigers. For one, Abel said, the effort was there.

“We have a good, talented group,” Abel said. “It’s a combination of things. Talent, we had the edge. Intensity and work ethic – I think we worked harder and wanted it a bit more than the other team. That was the difference.”

Dripping Springs will face San Antonio Highlands in the area round of the Girls Soccer 5-A Region II and IV state tournament.

Friday night’s performance – a coast-to-coast shutout – did quell some of Abel’s concerns heading into the postseason at least.

“I was not worried about this game, but I was interested to see how the young ones would react and how they would play,” Abel said. “They didn’t show their nerves. They stepped up. It’s a huge game and they pulled through. Even though we are young, we have the potential to take care of business and make a good run in these playoffs.”

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