There are teams that have to deal with a couple injuries here and there, and then there’s the Texas City Lady Stings soccer squad.
“Initially, as each girl was going down, you could sense, maybe, they … were a little discouraged,” Texas City head coach Lindsay Best said. “A lot of the younger girls were coming in and stepping up, but when you lose seniors, and these are three-year starting seniors, when you lose that foundation, it’s chaotic at first.”
That foundation includes six of Texas City’s 11 starters who are either sidelined with serious leg injuries or attempting to play through them.
Despite those setbacks, the Lady Stings gutted out a 0-0 tie against Manvel at home Friday, and with the one point in the standings awarded for the draw, Texas City locked up District 23-5A’s third-place playoff seed for the program’s first postseason appearance since 2014.
“I’m just really proud of them,” Best said. “When you’ve got so much drive, focus and heart, you don’t need an ACL.”
With multiple players all over the field Friday medically cleared to play but relying on braces and their muscles to support their damaged ligaments, Best questioned whether they should play at all, but ultimately opted to see what the players, in an important game for themselves and the team, could do.
The results were beyond expectations.
“They still were playing as if they were 100 percent — I honestly believe that,” Best said. “It wasn’t as if we were playing good in spite of all the injuries. I just think they played good.”
Texas City’s best chances to score came in the second half, but the Lady Stings couldn’t catch a break for a breakthrough goal.
In the 19th minute of the second half junior midfielder Angy Orea swiped a Manvel pass attempt and sent a ball to junior forward Ashleigh Rivas, who dribbled downfield and was tackled inside the 18-yard box in what was ruled to be a clean play on the ball.
In the second half’s 29th minute, junior midfielder Valerie Velasquez passed to sophomore forward Karissa Victoria, who had a good look at the goal but shot just wide.
A pair of shots at the goal by Texas City in the 30th and 31st minute were turned away by Manvel.
Although each team was awarded a point for the draw, the match went to a penalty kick shootout for a more definitive end to the match, which Manvel won, 4-3.
“I don’t really see us as losing tonight; I’m really proud of these girls,” Best said.
The two teams actually went through the first round of five penalty kick attempts per side tied, 3-3, with senior defender Melanie Araujo, freshman defender Amber Snarr and Rivas converting for Texas City.
It then went to sudden death, and following a pair of nice saves by Texas City senior goalkeeper Valerie Fleener and Manvel’s Shelby Browning, the Lady Mavs’ Janette Gomez converted the winning PK.
“It was definitely preparation for the playoffs: a tie until the end and then to have the pressure of penalties,” Best said.