Athens Girls Blow Away Waskom In Bi-District Round
TYLER -- Athens' first trip back to CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium was a success.
The Lady Hornets crushed Waskom, 10-0, in the bi-district round of the Class 4A state playoffs at the same site they dropped the 2016 Region II championship game. They're three wins away from returning to the regional title game thanks to a second-round bye and four wins from reaching Georgetown for the final four.
Georgetown is the goal after such a narrow miss.
"When something like that happens, it just motivated me," Athens coach Mark Hall said. "I've had a sick feeling every time I even think about that day. I did a lot of extra preparation to make sure that when we got to that level again."
The Lady Hornets (13-10-1) squared off with defending 4A champion Kennedale, three schools at the Class 5A level or higher, and the Kilgore program that beat them in the regional championship game in preparation for the district season.
In addition to a two-goal win versus Kilgore and victories against two larger schools, Athens streaked a 6-2 District 15-4A record before dropping the final two games of league play versus teams it already beat.
Taylor Stiles got Athens out of any hangover effect from the weak district finish. Her shot on net and a soft goal given up in the game's fourth minute started an avalanche of scoring.
It was a 4-0 affair 16 minutes into the contest, and Athens led 8-0 at halftime.
Makayle Traxson recorded a hat trick. Stiles and Raygan Young netted two goals each. Rachel Young, Kimberly Morales and Bianca Rodriguez added to the scoring.
Athens put 23 shots on goal to Waskom's two.
"We've been preparing for the playoffs the whole season," Hall said. "They've faced a lot of tough opponents. They knew getting to this point was about getting to this point. They came out today, made some sharp passes and had some success. Waskom fought a good game and worked hard."
Waskom ended its season with a 3-10-1 record.
A lack of teams in Districts 13 and 14 automatically send the Lady Hornets to the regional quarterfinal round. They will face Kilgore, which also is advancing a round automatically due to a lack of teams.
"I don't like the week off, but we got a couple of girls that got banged up," Hall said. "They got their legs in weird positions, so we're going to put a band aid on it. This gives us a little extra time. Kilgore is the next round, and it will be a tough game.
"Both teams didn't have the same personnel (in our first meeting with Kilgore). You can't gauge anything from that prior game. Kilgore's tough. They're Kilgore. Enough said."