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Tues., Mar. 6th, 2007  Lady Rebels face Lady Bulldogs looking to keep playoff hopes alive

Derek Weinbrenner
Midland Reporter-Telegram

It is always big when the Midland High and Lee girls soccer teams play but much more is on the line today as Lee fights to keep its playoff hopes alive. Midland High (7-7-1 overall, 5-3 District 3-5A) is well aware of how badly the Lady Rebels (7-5-1, 3-4) need a win. A Lee loss would drop it two games out of the fourth and final playoff spot. The Lady Rebels are coming off a 4-0 win over last-place Odessa High. Though Lee played well in the second half, where it scored all four goals, it had another scoreless first half. Coach Amanda Melchor said she has preached the importance of keeping a high level of intensity in a desperate point of the season.
"We've been playing alright, it's just those first halves," she said. "Just the intensity in practice we talked about. Even in warm-ups we need to be more intense. At this point, any win we get is important." That extra motivation might give Lee a mental edge in the match. Midland High nearly blew a 2-0 lead the first time these squads met this season. Lee came back to tie the match at 2-2 before Silver Ford's arching one-timer late in the match pulled it out for the Lady Bulldogs. It is exactly that scrappy ability of the Lady Rebels that scares MHS coach Scott Hodkinson. "I was talking about the importance of this game in practice because of Lee's desperation," he said. "They need this game. I was afraid we might not bring the intensity we need." But the Lady Bulldogs are well aware of where their opponents are and know what they have to do. "We really do need to pressure and play our best tomorrow because Lee will bring (its best effort)," junior Kelly Craig said. "I think we're doing really well. We're playing well as a team."
Midland High had to have some "heart-to-heart" time between the coach and the girls after last week's 8-1 loss to Odessa Permian. The result was a 1-0 win over San Angelo Central, who was tied with the Lady Dawgs in the standings at the time, and a team that grew closer to each other, according to Hodkinson. The young Lee girls have gained some confidence after stringing together a pair of wins in which it averaged 3.5 goals. But in beating the bottom of the district -- Abilene Cooper and Odessa High -- the wins will mean nothing if they do not finish digging out of a 1-4 start to the district season. "I don't care who we play tomorrow, we have to win," Melchor said.