Lady Lobos crush Akins 4-0 in regular season finale

Lehman Lady Lobo Klarissa Lucio (18) searches for a teammate to celebrate with after she scored a goal with roughly five minutes left in the team’s March 11 game with Akins. While Lehman qualified for the playoffs, they now wait to see if their season continues after the UIL suspended play due to COVID-19.

Achieving the chance to extend her senior season by an extra game is something Abby Gorostieta doesn’t take lightly.

Several months ago, Gorostieta watched as other upperclassmen who had been a part of the Lehman Lady

Lehman Lady Lobo Faith Howell (11) gets the upper hand on a header as an Akins Eagle defender approaches March 11. Howell scored the games’ first goal as Lehman defeated Akins 4-0.

Lobos soccer team quit a program that was now playing under its third head coach in half a year and looked to be going nowhere.

On March 11, Lehman crushed the Akins Eagles 4-0 in their regular season finale, solidifying a stunning third-place finish in a wildly competitive 25-6A and ending a five year playoff drought. While Lehman now awaits word if their season will continue at all, at that moment, the accomplishment meant the world for Gorostieta.

“It’s a great accomplishment that I’ve made it this far. Now I’m making it to the playoffs,” Gorostieta said. “We never did that during my years here. I’m proud of that.”

Equally proud was first year head coach Sean Dickson who assumed the leadership role only five months previous. Aiding his transition was understanding many of the strengths of his players. Dickson had served as Lehman’s assistant coach prior to his promotion.

Ultimately, Dickson felt he didn’t want to be an “obstacle” for his players, understanding the raw talent and potential he knew they had. Gorotostieta said Dickson “stepped up and took great leadership,” carrying the program forward.

“To watch them flourish and let them play like they wanted to play and acknowledge them as quality soccer players, I let them play the style I thought would be good for them,” Dickson said.

That style played out March 11 as Lehman utilized an unrelenting attack to punish Akins into submission. However, aggressive play didn’t translate to goals early on despite outshooting Akins by a ratio of nearly 3-1. A Lady Lobo goal scored by Faith Howell off of a corner kick gave Lehman a 1-0 advantage at halftime.

The tone changed in the second half as Lehman’s persistence led to three additional unanswered goals scored by Jade Hickey in the 51st minute, Hannah Loya at the 67th minute and Klarissa Lucio at the 75th minute.

Dickson pointed to the team’s high standards for first half struggles in finishing, citing players were frustrated they couldn’t get goals. The ability for his team to resolve the issue in the second half was a “sign of their growth,” Dickson said.

“We were a little frustrated. We have high standards for ourselves, especially this team,” Gorostieta said. “They stayed calm and played with their hearts and their heads.”

But now all Lehman can do is wait and see. With the UIL shutting down athletics until March 29 due to COVID-19, the Lady Lobos’ season, as with all other soccer teams in Texas, is officially on hiatus.

Even so, Dickson said he looks forward to whatever challenges might come their way. After all, he knows it won’t diminish the success the program has experienced to this point and the obstacles they’ve overcome.

“I don’t take this as my last game. We still have more to go through,” Gorostieta said March 11. “We have to get mentally and physically ready for the playoffs.”

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