Wed., Mar. 21st, 2007 Lady Rebels finish season with win against Cooper
The Lee girls nearly found themselves in a shootout situation to clinch the final District 3-5A playoff spot, but turned the dial up and scored late to secure a postseason berth with a 2-1 win against Abilene Cooper on Tuesday at Grande Communications Stadium. Cooper (5-11-0 overall, 2-10 district) came out strong knowing it was playing its final match of the year and gave Lee (10-7-1, 6-6) fits until Rachael Solari won it with her second goal of the match.
"I didn't think we played very well the first half. The girls are excited but they know they didn't play their best," Lee coach Amanda Melchor said. "You have to expect (that effort from Cooper). The coach and players had some character."
Solari gave the Lady Rebels a first-half lead in the 23rd minute on an assist from Chelsea Taylor. Solari took the cross in the penalty box, settled it and put it underneath diving goalkeeper Andrea Austin.
Not to go quietly, though, the Lady Cougars answered nine minutes later. Unmarked Taylor Young lured Lee sweeper DeNeal Nutt to the outside and Young crossed it to a wide-open Taryn Arrington streaking down the middle. Arrington beat goalkeeper Victoria Ramirez to tie the match.
"I was just mad the whole game," Solari said. "I thought there was some really bad calls and so I played even harder."
After posting eight shots on goal in the first half, the Lady Rebels got nine more in the second. They also began with three corner kicks in first 10 minutes of the second half, but no goal.
"It was frustrating for everyone. It seemed we were slow," senior Kelsey Byars said. "But we're going to the playoffs."
Byars took a ball to the nose and had a penalty kick stopped by Austin in the first half. She also kicked a 10-yard turn-around shot into Austin's stomach.
But in the 64th minute, Lee freshman Brytni Moore had a goal waived off by a questionable offsides call that fired the Lady Rebels up, according to Byars.
Seven minutes later, Solari took a redirect pass from Byars and put it underneath Austin into the far right side of the net to put Lee in the playoffs.
Lee will play Mansfield Summit tentatively on Tuesday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene in a bi-distict match.