Wed., Mar. 8th, 2006 Lee-MHS Soccer
Lee boys soccer coach Chris Bryant said his teams have sometimes gone into a spring break funk. This year, though, the Rebels have turned their spring break fortunes around.
Lee scored three first half goals, then held off a late Midland High rally, to claim a 3-2 District 3-5A victory on Tuesday night at Grande Communications Stadium. Lee finds itself in an enviable position entering the final three games of the district season as it improved to 6-3 in league play and 10-8 overall and remained in sole possession of second place. They are also 2-0 since MISD's spring break began on Saturday, which includes a 3-2 shootout victory against Odessa High.
"This win is big because on spring break we have had a history of not playing well," Bryant said. "I told them this week, though, that we need to win our spring break games."
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are on a four-game slide and find themselves in a must-win situation from now on. Midland High is 4-5 in league play and 11-6-1 overall with a game against Abilene Cooper set for Saturday. Tuesday's two goals did break a two-game scoreless streak for the Bulldogs, though.
"The last two weeks we've just been in a slump and we can't find our way out of it," said Bulldog senior forward Mike Abalos, who scored a goal in the second half. "This game was big for our playoff hopes to still be open. We have to find our rhythm and go back to what was working."
The Rebels started the game with plenty of energy and the Bulldogs had trouble keeping up. Lee's energy paid off in the first three minutes of the game. Freshman Montiel Urias scored on a rebound after his initial shot was stopped by MHS goalkeeper Steven Smith. Smith, though, was pulled off the goalline from Urias' initial shot. Midland High struck less than five minutes later when Chris Hawkins headed in a cross from Cameron Ford in the game's fifth minute. The game calmed down after the two early goals, but in the 28th minute, Lee took a lead it would never relinquish. The Rebels' Spencer Wiebusch punched a free kick into the large goal box but both teams had trouble gaining possession. But the Rebels managed a shot that glanced off a MHS player where Urias looked like he headed it into the net. The referees called it an own goal, but either way the Rebels were ahead 2-1.
That one goal cushion was all the Rebels needed, though Lee's Matt Carathers added one more in the 32nd minute off an assist from Nick Zamora. Abalos also scored a goal in the 57th minute, but the Bulldogs could not come up with an equalizer in a furious final 20 minutes. "We spent the day together, had a movie day and went to eat and I was hoping that would build some team unity for us heading into this game," Bryant said. "The last time we played them, they came out with more energy than we did and I wanted to make it a point to control the energy level and take care of it ourselves. We did that."