Arlington Citizen-Journal

Seasoned midfielders keeping Lady Colts in playoff position

Lady Colts junior midfielder Peyton Heilig, left, plays a ball out of Arlington territory last week against Lamar.
Lady Colts junior midfielder Peyton Heilig, left, plays a ball out of Arlington territory last week against Lamar. Star-Telegram

Sometimes the goals come in bunches. But in a March 3 home victory against Lamar, Arlington had to take what it could get.

What the Lady Colts got was a first-half score from senior midfielder Melissa Tran. They then made the goal hold up throughout the second half to prevail 1-0. That narrow triumph helped Arlington keep pace with Fort Worth Paschal in the race for the second playoff spot in District 4-6A. Martin has already clinched the district championship.

“We wanted to win like 3-0,” Tran said.

The previous night, Arlington had knocked in four goals in a win against Sam Houston. That game had been postponed from the previous week because of winter weather.

The Lady Colts’ inconsistent scoring outputs are understandable. Arlington’s forwards are a talented but young bunch led by freshman Kaily Orr.

Fortunately for the Lady Colts, the inexperienced front line is backed up by an experienced midfield led by Tran, junior Peyton Heilig and senior Kathleen Johnson.

“These are the three that kind of run the middle of the field,” coach Andrea Scott said. “They’re kind of the glue that holds everything together.”

After the Lamar game, Heilig felt satisfied about her team’s effort. Earlier in the season, the Lady Colts assumed that success would come easy, she said.

Now, they have a better appreciation for what it takes to compete in a deep district.

“Sometimes the more experienced players will butt heads with the inexperienced ones,” Heilig said. “It’s sort of a transition. But for the most part, I think we work really well together.”

Heilig works especially well with Tran and Johnson in the midfield.

“They’re good,” Tran said. “I love playing with them.”

Teammates enjoy playing with Tran, too. Tran took advantage of a ball that got away from Lamar’s defense in the first half, kicking it past the Lady Vikings’ keeper for what proved to be the game’s only goal.

“It was kind of bouncing around,” Heilig said. “And it just popped up to her and she just chipped it over the keeper’s hands.”

Tran’s goal was hugely important. Even though Arlington is in a dead heat for second place with Paschal, a loss to Lamar could have dropped the Lady Colts down several places in the district standings.

“If we lost, we could have potentially dropped down to fifth,” Scott said.

Luckily for the coach, she can trust her squad to bring a consistent effort every time they take the pitch.

“They work hard every single day, and I feel like that’s the most I can ask out of them,” Scott said. “I feel like we don’t necessarily have as much talent as some of the other teams, but we find a way to work together and make it happen.”

While conducting a brief media interview, Tran, Johnson and Heilig made one another laugh numerous times. Johnson said games are similarly fun with her midfield mates.

“I’ve become really good friends with both of them,” Johnson said. “We have good chemistry together. We know where we’re going to be on the field.”