Aledo Ladycats soccer coach Bryan Johnson knew the feeling well. His team, for a second consecutive season, had been eliminated in the area round of the Class 5A playoffs by a 1-0 score.
This time it was Wichita Falls who eliminated his team, ending Aledo's season with a 17-4-3 record.
"Becoming our area round score line," said Johnson. "Great game."
Wichita Falls (16-2-3) scored with 10 minutes left in the first half. From there, the Lady Coyotes' defense made it stand.
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Aledo, which outscored its opponents 74-14 and reached the playoffs for a 15th straight season, did not allow another goal, but couldn't find the net themselves. The Ladycats came close a couple times, including with 40 seconds left when a shot went just wide of the post.
"Makenzie Covington made two great saves that kept us alive," said Johnson of his sophomore goalkeeper.
Johnson praised the play of several players, including junior midfielder Cameron Huddleston, freshman midfielder Brooke Jones, and senior midfielder Haley Knesek.
Aledo's backline denied Wichita Falls' forwards all game, not allowing them a shot.
"It was a great game and I felt like we would need one, just didn't think we would give one up," said Johnson.
The Ladycats lose six seniors, including five starters. Key returners include Jones (14 goals), Covington, junior forward Peyton Laughley (14 goals), and sophomore defender Kristen Burns.
"We're gonna be okay next year," said Johnson.
The Ladycats finished second in District 8-5A and advanced to the second round of the playoffs with an 8-0 win over Fort Worth Western Hills in bidistrict.
WICHITA FALLS 4, BEARCATS 0
The Bearcats' successful comeback season ended in the second round to the Coyotes (19-1-5), one season after Aledo finished near the bottom of the district standings.
"A special year, going from sixth last year to second (in district) with a chance to win it the last week was awesome," said coach Derek Vierling.
The Bearcats, 15-7-2 overall, finished second in 8-5A to Granbury, which entered this week still undefeated and in the third round of the playoffs. It's easy to believe they would have won many other districts.
Aledo had its streak of 13 straight playoff seasons ended in 2015, fielding a young team that grew in experience and made it pay off this season.
Vierling delivered accolades to junior goalkeeper Caleb Hill, who had nine saves, and said senior fullback Lane Vidaurri had one of his best games all season.
The Bearcats will lose seven seniors, including three starters, to graduation. Along with Hill, key returners include junior center midfielders Noah Hill and Reed Vierling, along with junior forward Tanner VanCuren (13 goals).
The Bearcats advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Arlington Heights in which Reed Vierling scored the game-winner in overtime.