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Wed., Mar. 7th, 2007  Lady Dawgs overwhelm rivals in second half
Derek Weinbrenner
Midland Reporter-Telegram

The Lee girls soccer team finally put together an intense and productive first half, but could not slow down a revved up Midland High squad, which scored four goals in the opening minutes of the second half on Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs (8-7-1 overall, 6-3 District 3-5A) came out in the second half down 1-0 and bull-rushed Lee (7-6-1, 3-5) to grab every ounce of momentum in a 4-1 win at Grande Communications Stadium. It was almost tragic for the Lady Rebels, who have waited until the second half to turn up the dial consistently this season. Lee struck first when Kelsey Byars headed in a 30-yard free kick from Whitney Smith in the 16th minute. It was one of four shots on goal Lee had in the half. But it would not record even one in the second half. "It was an intense first half," Lee coach Amanda Melchor said. "But Midland High was running and running. I think there were mistakes made (by us). You don't let Silver (Ford) and Hannah (Dozier) run to the goal like that. ... (The Lady Rebels) were flat, they were slow and they did not clear the ball out. And you can't do that against Midland High girls." But run they did. They and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs took it upon themselves to step their games up against cross-town rival Lee. "We played a lot more motivated (in the second half)," MHS midfielder Leslie Guisinger said. "There was a sense of urgency to come out and score." MHS coach Scott Hodkinson did not have to give much of a halftime speech to pump his girls up. They knew what they had to do. "I was very low key at halftime because we had some really good chances in the first half. Silver hit the crossbar (and post) twice," Hodkinson said. "The first 10 to 15 minutes (of the second half) we swarmed them. "Whatever was in their heads, I wish they would remember that. I think we're headed to the playoffs and that's how they're going to have to play." The match's first corner kick produced the Lady Bulldogs' first goal in the 44th minute. Silver Ford dropped a beautiful corner kick into the Lee goal box, where Guisinger banged it into the top of the net with her right instep.
Five minutes later, Midland High strung together back-to-back goals by Ford and Elyssa Hawkins. Ford dribbled around goalkeeper Victoria Ramirez when Dozier's blinding speed began a breakaway and she found Ford streaking away from Lee defenders.
Hawkins' first goal of the district season came when Ramirez blocked Guisinger's close-range shot and Hawkins picked up the rebound in front of a wide-open net. Ford wrapped up the onslaught with her second goal of the match in the 54th minute, hitting the right post, the left post and finally the back of the net. "I think it was really, really frustrating to hit the post (four times)," Ford said. "We were playing slower in the first half and talked about how we had to step it up and play hard to beat Lee."