Lufkin Fends Off Pine Tree, 2-1 + Advances To Area Round Of Girls Soccer Playoffs
TYLER -- The Lufkin Lady Panthers sailed into the soccer playoffs on the heels of an undefeated run through District 16-5A. But Thursday's bi-district counterpart Pine Tree, the fourth seed from 15-5A, was not going to lay down.
Despite carrying a much quicker offensive attack, Lufkin had to scratch and claw to run its winning streak to 13 matches with a 2-1 first-round postseason victory at Trinity Mother Frances Stadium.
"We didn't play our best soccer, but (Pine Tree) didn't make it easy for us by any means," said Lufkin coach J. Antonio Encarnacion. "They're well-coached and they've always had good teams. But we got the job done, and at the end we were able to take advantage of some chances and we got the win."
Lufkin advanced to the area round of the playoffs where it will meet the winner of Friday's bi-district match between Dallas Adamson and Red Oak early next week.
Pine Tree's defense limited the aggressive Lufkin squad's scoring chances, and Lady Pirates senior goalkeeper Shayna Felker turned away nine of Lufkin's 11 shots on goal, keeping the match competitive throughout.
"Their defense played great," Encarnacion said of Pine Tree. "They just kept us on our toes the whole afternoon, and they play physically, too. We knew it was going to be a tough game; we beat a good team this afternoon."
The first half was nearly played to a draw, but Lufkin finally broke through with 4:59 remaining until intermission. Lady Panthers captain Suzy Reyes lobbed a pass over a beaten Pine Tree defender to Mirka Zamarripa, who pushed a shot past Felker for a 1-0 halftime lead.
That came after Lufkin came up short on two excellent scoring chances from Katelyn Knowles earlier in the half. The first came 10 minutes into the match when Felker stepped in front of a shot that was fed to Knowles from Silvia Santoyo, and the second occurred moments later when Felker's acrobatic save denied a Knowles breakaway attempt.
"When you go into halftime at 1-0, it's always a plus," Encarnacion said.
The second half was much more even, and Pine Tree found the equalizer 14 minutes after the re-start. The Lady Pirates were on a two-on-one break, and Lilly Cabrera slid a 10-yard crossing pass to Erin Bailey, who beat Lufkin keeper Haley Roe to tie the game, 1-1.
But less than four minutes later, Lufkin attacked and was rewarded with the eventual game-winner. Zamarripa was looking for her second goal of the match, but a save from Felker led to a rebound for Tyler Tippit, who found the net for a 2-1 lead with 22:37 remaining.
"That's something that we've done all year long," Encarnacion said of his team's resiliency. "We just knew that we had to settle down and play our game. They didn't make it easy for us, but we were able to be in the right spot and it paid off for us."