The Lake Dallas girls soccer team couldn’t have asked for a better start to Thursday’s Class 5A bi-district match against Wichita Falls Rider.
The Lady Falcons scored the first goal of the game and appeared to be headed towards another close battle against a Lady Raider team that they have played to two ties over the course of the last two seasons.
But, just when it appeared that Lake Dallas had the momentum, Rider needed only five minutes to take it right back. The Lady Raiders scored the first of three unanswered goals 10 minutes into the game and went on to hand the Lady Falcons a season-ending 3-1 loss at Memorial Stadium.
Lake Dallas junior Olivia Trotter got a breakaway down the right side of the goal, matching up with Rider goalie Allie Vasquez one-on-one and besting her for a 1-0 Lady Falcon lead in the fifth minute.
“Our intensity was good to start the game,” said Nathan Davis, Lake Dallas head coach. “Scoring in the first five minutes, I thought that we executed the way that I thought that we were going to, like playing the ball and putting a diagonal run onto it. Olivia buried a good shot. The energy was high.”
But, this is a Rider team that is used to playing from behind. In the Jan. 5 season opener for both teams, the Lady Raiders scored with less than 30 seconds less in the game to forge a 3-3 tie. This time around, Rider gave a stingy defensive effort.
Passing lanes and space to dribble the ball was very limited for Lake Dallas (13-8-2).
Rider needed only five minutes to answer Trotter’s tally. Henlee Wilson got her foot on a ball that Aubrey Glidewell serviced into traffic in front of the net. Wilson beat everyone to the ball and delivered a perfect strike to level the score at 1-1.
Glidwell put Rider ahead for good in the 31st minute.
Maddie Maness scored Rider’s final goal in the 38th minute.
“They were very quick and physical,” Davis said. “Their midfield gave us fits. We had to adjust to their style of play. We just had a hard time doing what we needed to do because of the way they stepped up quickly. We didn’t have time and space. They were on us the whole time.”
The loss marked the end of the best seasons for Lake Dallas.
One year after the Lady Falcons captured a district championship for the first time in program history, Lake Dallas battled through the gauntlet that is District 6-5A to clinch a playoff berth and then to play in its first postseason game since 2016.
“We’ve talked previously about coming in with the gauntlet of the district that we had,” Davis said. “We’ve got Grapevine, Colleyville, Birdville. Richland was better than what I expected. That goes to show the quality of the teams in our district. I was very pleased with the outcome of what our girls were able to do.”
The Lady Falcons do lose seven seniors off this year’s squad: Kelsi Vonnahme, Ivelyn Jimenez, Gisele Garibay, Eryn Leyden, Madison Harper, Sydney Leney and Addison Buesing.
“They’ll be missed,” Davis said. “They’re going to be difficult to replace.”