Amanda Valdez’s two goals and a strong overall finish saw the Texas City Lady Stings defeat the Alvin Shadow Creek Lady Sharks, 2-1, in their Region III-5A area round playoff match Tuesday at Henry Winston Stadium.
“(Valdez) finishes the game plan, but it takes the whole team to build up to that,” Texas City head coach Lindsay Best said. “The confidence starts in the back. If the defense isn’t active, vocal, assisting, taking chances, then we don’t really go anywhere. Then, it builds up to the midfield, and then, Amanda and our other offensive players are there to see the plan through.”
With the score tied 1-1, Valdez’s match-winner came in the 70th minute when she faked a move toward the near post, freezing the Lady Sharks’ goalkeeper as the sophomore forward rocketed a shot into the far post from about 20 yards out.
Valdez broke a scoreless stalemate in the 51st minute when senior forward Karissa Victoria sent a cross into the penalty box, which took a deflection and found the boot of Valdez, who tapped it past the keeper for the 1-0 lead.
“She can play any position, but her composure in front of the goal is definitely a strength that we have,” Best said of Valdez.
Shadow Creek found the equalizer about eight minutes later when sophomore forward Jaelyn Scott collected a loose ball and launched a shot into the back of the net.
In a near repeat of their first-round playoff match, the Lady Stings faced some early adversity and got off to a slow start in the first half.
After conceding an early goal in their 2-1 bi-district win Friday over Vidor, the Lady Stings nearly repeated that off a Shadow Creek set piece in the second minute of the match, but the defense made a great stop on a dangerous looking shot on goal.
Aside from that threat and another corner kick in the 38th minute, the Texas City defense didn’t allow Shadow Creek any more opportunities for the remainder of the first half. The Lady Stings attack had five shots on goal and a couple of near misses, but entered the halftime break still tied 0-0.
“We change up our game plan based on our opponent, and sometimes we’re resistant to that change, and it takes us the first half to realize, ‘this isn’t working,’” Best said.
Texas City had a couple more promising scoring opportunities in the second half, but just could not quite beat the Shadow Creek defense.
The Lady Stings move onto the Region III-5A quarterfinals to face Port Neches-Groves at a time and location yet to be finalized.
“It’s going to be a battle, no doubt, but often when we play good teams, win or lose, we always step up to the challenge,” Best said.