Lady Rebel soccer shows grit in season finale

In what would be their final match of the 2017-18 season, the 4-6-4 Hays Lady Rebel soccer team hosted the 9-4-4 Vandegrift Lady Vipers. An intriguing matchup in the game was going to be between Hays defender Chasity Haas, and Vandegrift forward Paige Crossman. Both girls are Texas State signees and will be teammates come next fall. This game would also be the last time the 2018 Hays Lady Rebels and their seniors would play together in Bob Shelton Stadium, as they were already eliminated from post-season play.

Vandegrift got off to a flaming hot start, getting off three shots in the first three minutes, and scoring the games first goal only two minutes into the game. This early adversity would be a test for the Lady Rebels, as they were playing a lineup they had not seen much of, as Head Coach Brent Holcomb was getting his seniors playing time, due to their post-season hopes already being obsolete. “I got ten seniors on the field. That hasn’t happened yet this season.” The senior led Rebels responded well to the early Viper attack, not allowing the visitors to maintain their steady attack, and the Lady Rebels began launching attacks of their own.

Hays forward Gillian McCready had a fantastic game for the Rebels, as she was at the head of almost every Rebel attack throughout the match. Her breakaway opportunity at the eighteen-minute mark was the home team’s first real scoring opportunity, and the run kicked off a series of relentless Rebel offensive attacks. The Rebels would remain on the offensive for the next 15 minutes of play, firing off four consecutive shots. On the fourth shot, McCready finally found the net, hitting the ball down the middle of the net and high enough to where the Vandegrift keeper was unable to reach it.

The goal gave the Lady Rebels some momentum and tied the game at a goal apiece. Unfortunately for them, Vandegrift was able to swiftly respond, scoring their second goal with eight minutes left in the half. The goal gave the Vipers a 2-1 lead going into the half.

The visiting Lady Vipers dominated the second half. They scored two more goals, with the last one coming in the final seconds of the game. While there was no more scoring for them, the Lady Rebels never quit, and showed real determination and fight all throughout the half. McCready finished with 7 total shots, and her teams only goal. Mariah Gonzales also took two shots of her own. Goalkeeper Rachel Pugh recorded 7 total saves and allowed four goals. This was a pretty solid stat line considering Vandegrift got off 18 shots.

Hays Head Coach Brent Holcomb was not discouraged by the score, and instead focused on the commitment he got from his seniors and their squad. He spoke highly of his team, saying “We’re not always the most skilled team, and we’re definitely not always the best coached team. But a lot of times, we are the team with the bigger heart.” Holcomb also felt the word “desire” best described his team this year, saying “Desire. That’s the word I would use. The girls did not want to lay down to this team or in their last game, and they didn’t.” Holcomb’s 2018 Hays Lady Rebels finished 4-7-4 overall, and 3-6-3 in district play.

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