For 71 minutes, just getting a peek at the goal seemed like a victory as the A&M Consolidated and No. 6 Magnolia girls soccer teams controlled Wednesday’s District 19-5A match with their defenses.
A peek was all Magnolia’s Laney Gonzales needed to register the only goal in the Lady Bulldogs’ 1-0 victory at Tigerland Stadium.
Scoring opportunities were at a premium throughout the evenly played match as the teams battled between the penalty boxes for nearly the entire night. The two goalkeepers had to make just five total saves, and the teams managed just five combined corner kicks.
But the defensive struggle turned on the left foot of Gonzales, who slipped a shot past Lady Tiger goalkeeper Alyssa Crites from near the top of the penalty box.
“It was a gut punch,” A&M Consolidated coach Caleb Blakely said. “I thought they had more attacking opportunities than we did, but we had our chances, and that is what we’ve got to get better on is when you have those chances, which one are you going to bury. [Gonzales] is going to have her choice of colleges to play at. We knew we had to slow her down, and we moved some bodies around and I thought we were pretty successful outside of the few opportunities.”
Consol (8-3, 5-2) held Gonzales to just a couple of shots, none inside the penalty box, which kept the game in balance until the final nine minutes. But the only shot that found the net kept Magnolia perfect on the season at 16-0 overall and 7-0 in 19-5A.
“Our girls knew we had to match their physicality,” Blakely said. “They are a strong team, so we knew it was going to be a physical game whether it be exertion in running or body on body, and all of us played Monday, so we are all sore, but I’m so proud of these girls for bringing what they brought today. It was a great game.”
Consol’s defense held a team that averages six goals a game to six shots on goal, and none were from inside the penalty box.
“We did not get to play our game like I wanted, but I can’t be more proud of that backline this game, because we went toe-to-toe and just made a couple more mistakes than them,” Blakely said.
Consol defenders Kayla Tomlinson, Grace Tomlinson, Evelyn Brieden and Addison Kieschnick kept Magnolia’s Gonzales and sophomore Madeline Ellis quiet throughout. Kayla Tomlinson twice blocked shots from getting to the keeper after Gonzales found the slightest of openings.
The backline got plenty of help from marking midfielder Ella Goodwin, who was instructed to not let Gonzales have any room with the ball.
“That was kind of our strategy,” Blakely said. “We said, hey, Ella Goodwin, you’re one of the best athletes in our program, in our school, in our district. You are going to shut [Gonzales] down, and she stepped up and did her job.”
After the Lady Bulldogs scored, Consol had only nine minutes to earn a draw, but the Lady Bulldogs, led by senior defender Tea Guidie and junior goalkeeper Taylor Sanderson, held on for their 14th shutout this season. Magnolia has surrendered only two goals all season.
In third place in 19-5A, Consol has home matches against Waller on Friday and on Tuesday against College Station, which came from behind to win 2-1 the last time the teams met.