Lake Ridge’s girls soccer team notched two playoff wins last week and is now ready for the Region I Sectional game this Thursday.
The Lady Eagles picked up wins over Stephenville (2-1) and South Hills (3-0) to put them into the third round against Kennedale at R.L. Anderson Stadium at 6 p.m. Lake Ridge won a coin flip with Kennedale to determine the playoff site.
“It’s obviously a good start for us,” said Lake Ridge head coach Kim Wallace. “We’re on a good run so far.”
Lake Ridge defeated Kennedale 3-0 early in the season in the semifinals of the first tournament of the season. And the familiarity with Kennedale doesn’t end there.
Wallace and the Kennedale coach played high school soccer together in Mansfield.
Knowing Kennedale will aid Lake Ridge in determining where the defensive focus will be.
“Going into each game, I know who their key players are and who starts the attacks,” Wallace said. “We can then focus on shutting those girls down.”
Giving up just one goal in the first two playoff games demonstrates the Lady Eagles defense is taking its responsibilities seriously.
“Unfortunately, we seem to be more defensively-minded and I don’t know why,” Wallace said, adding she wants the offense to stay effective.
“We’re a young team and they want to go as far as they can,” Wallace said. “They want to make sure they win by doing more on defense, but when we have opportunities to score, we’re putting it away. When we get a lead, we want to hang on with a defensive focus.”
At 11-3-1, Lake Ridge has been going beyond usual expectations for a team so young.
Wallace said five freshmen are starting, with four sophomores, a single junior and a lone senior. They graduated just one senior last year, as well.
Regardless of their experience, they know what to do at this stage of the season.
“I enjoy watching them play,” Wallace said. “I just give them a few pointers and then watch them play. I just ask them if they want to watch or do you want to keep playing,” she said of the playoff season.
The biggest key, according to Wallace, is the fact the Lady Eagles are healthy.
“We’re healthy and they’re playing well together and things are clicking,” she said.
Should Lake Ridge get past Kennedale, the Lady Eagles will line up next Tuesday to take on the winner of Byron Nelson and Birdville in a regional quarterfinal game.
Kennedale was the team that eliminated Summit last week in the first round with an 8-0 victory over the Lady Jaguars.
Summit had forged their way into the playoffs with a final regular season win over Crowley, 4-1.
Legacy lost their bi-district match in a close 2-1 game with Joshua last week.