Mabank Ends Kilgore’s Season in Penalty Kicks
LINDALE -- The Kilgore Lady Bulldogs' season ended Friday with a 3-1 penalty kick loss against Mabank at Eagle Stadium in the Class 4A sectional round.
The match featured a Kilgore team with good firepower and some athletic players serving in the sweeper roles, but the Lady Panthers survived three major scoring chances through regulation and two overtime periods to force the penalty kick tiebreaker.
"We became a team," Kilgore head coach Amanda Farmer said. "That's what I'm most proud of. We just learned to play together and we've done a lot of things Kilgore hasn't done."
The Lady Bulldogs made it three rounds deep in the 2014 playoffs. The program had not won a playoff game prior to this season.
Penalty kicks are anyone's game despite a team's best effort.
Kilgore had some chances to make it to the fourth round, starting with a quick push up the field on the opening kick and a shot that hit the side of the net less than 30 seconds into the match.
Mabank also nearly threw the game away when a defender miscalculated a pass to goalkeeper Bailey Swain in the game's 12th minute. By rule, Swain wasn't able to use her hands on a ball passed back to her from a teammate and had to make a heroic play near the goal line to keep the game scoreless.
The Lady Bulldogs also had a chance early in the second half on a free kick that was tipped away by Swain.
On the other end, Kilgore keeper Jalyssia Hernandez made five saves and plenty of other good decisions to fore overtime and the penalty kicks.
Hernandez's only mistake was pursuing a a ball to the right corner of the field. Mabank's Sam Gomez took possession of the ball and tried to hit the open net, but Kilgore's Nichole Flores stayed at home and deflected the ball away from the net.
As the game wore on through a scoreless 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, it became increasingly clear one of the two keepers was going to be the hero of the match.
"She's the heart of our defense," Farmer said of Hernandez. "She's real tough, real physical. She's one of our leaders and captains. This has been her best year."
Swain fittingly went head-to-head with Hernandez for the opening shot in penalty kicks. She missed high to give the Lady Bulldogs a brief mental upper hand.
But Kilgore's shooters missed the first, second and fourth shots in penalty kicks while Mabank recovered from missing its two opening kicks to net its final three attempts for the win.
The Lady Bulldogs' fifth shot wasn't necessary.
Swain finished her game with six saves in play and one in penalty kicks for Mabank. Hernandez made five saves and additional stop in the penalty kick rounds.
"I'm just proud of them," Farmer said. "They had a really good year."