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Wed., Mar. 22nd, 2006  Lady Rebs slide into contention
By Len Hayward
Sports Editor
San Angelo Central girls soccer coach Warren Cottle won't officially cast his all-district ballot for a few more days, but Tuesday night he made up his mind for the goalkeeper position.
Lee senior goalkeeper Kayla Weant kept finding ways to stop Lady Bobcat shots during regulation and stoned four Central shooters in a shootout as Lee took a 1-0 shootout victory at Grande Communications Stadium and District 3-5A's final playoff spot. "We had quality scoring chances but the difference in the match was their goalkeeper," Cottle said. "She's got my vote for all-district, I'll tell you that right now. She kept them in the game."
The Lady Rebels (15-6 overall, 8-4 in District 3-5A) won the tiebreaker 2-0 as Halee Hamm and Tiffany Richter each scored, while Central missed on four attempts. Lee will face Weatherford, the second place team from District 4-5A, in a Class 5A bi-district game next Monday or Tuesday in Abilene. Central, meanwhile, will miss the postseason for the second consecutive season and finish at 13-9 and 7-5. "We have to thank Kayla for this," Lee coach Amanda Melchor said. "Central played their hearts out and they made us earn it." Weant's exploits in net were magnified as time ran out in regulation on Tuesday night. The Bobcats put pressure on Lee as Weant punched away late shots from Whitney Bible and Megan Barnett. Later in the shootout, Weant showed why she has been an all-district player and will be playing Division I soccer next fall. Weant, who will attend the Air Force Academy, watched a shot from Central's Amanda Duryea sail wide to open the shootout. Then Weant went to work. Weant punched away consecutive long shots from Barnett and Bible, while kicking away Megan Davis' attempt to end the shootout and the game.
"I was surprised they didn't come right at me more and then I knew I had to stay in the net," Weant said. "I was expecting they'd come at me because that's the way we practice those." Weant's stellar play in net during the shootout was complimented by the goals from Hamm and Richter. Both beat Central goalkeeper Danni Edwards with low shots to Edwards' right-hand side that found the back of the net. Hamm's goal helped her to earn some redemption after missing two shots in the second half, including one with a wide open net that sailed wide in the game's 68th minute. "After I missed those two shots I was getting a little bit anxious and kind of got down," Hamm said. "I felt some redemption and I knew we were going to win. This feels really good right now."