Despite being hopeful in the preseason and with three returning stars, the Aledo Ladycats soccer season got off to a bit of a rocky start. From Thursday, Jan. 6 to Saturday, Jan. 8 the Ladycats competed in the Waxahachie tournament to start the season.
The first game took place on Thursday against familiar foe, Midlothian Heritage. McKenna Vela and Emaree Gibson both scored goals to keep it a competitive game, but it was not enough to match the three goals scored by Heritage.
“I felt like we played well,” head coach Bryan Johnson said about the match. “I thought getting those two goals was good, but of course we gave up that one at the end that lost it for us.”
On Friday, Aledo took on Forney and much like the first game, the defense struggled as Forney jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en route to a 3-1 win. Jourdan Hart scored the lone goal for the Ladycats.
“We looked like we were running around in mud,” Johnson said. “It was an ugly game. Forney was good and talented; they had some speed and quickness. I felt that two of the goals we gave up were soft, but we’ll get that rectified.”
In the final game of the tournament, Aledo took on Red Oak in an early morning match. The game was defined by the constant midfield battle for possession. Ashlyn Laughly buried the first goal of the game in the 14th minute. The constant struggle continued into the second half until Red Oak tied it in the 51st minute on a corner kick. Neither team could break the stalemate from there and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
“It’s disappointing,” Johnson said after the draw. “Giving up that goal off of the corner, again a soft goal and not being where we need to be. However we came out in a new formation and may have found our new left back. I think we’re going to be alright.”
Already on the upswing, after the tournament the Ladycats hosted the Richland Royals on Tuesday, Jan. 11. Almost immediately Aledo came out and swung momentum in their favor.
Laughley delivered the first blow in the third minute with an assist from Gibson. Still in the first half, Laughley made another great play when she sliced through the defense and passed back to Vela who buried the goal in the lower right corner. In the second half, Reece Warren’s shot was deflected by the Richland goalkeeper and right to Ella Bertram who put it in the empty net with ease.
Goalkeeper Emma Davis continually squelched any Richland attack and secured the shutout with a 3-0 win.
“It was a positive result against a quality opponent,” Johnson said after the first win of the season. “I feel that we got better as the game wore on. We came out pretty strong in the first half, and we looked way better than we did last week.”
The girls start the Moritz Kia Tournament on Thursday with a noon match against Waxahachie at Bearcat Stadium, looking to build on the win and their 1-2-1 record.
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