Corner Kicks Help Palestine Girls Past Henderson In Bi-District Round
TYLER -- Madison Munoz notched two assists on corner kicks and led Palestine to a 3-0 victory against Henderson in the bi-district round of the Class 4A state playoffs Thursday at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Munoz opened scoring with a feed Lacey Gambrell finished 19 minutes into the match and then closed scoring on a long pass from the corner that Lauryn James was able to maneuver into the net with 10 minutes remaining.
"That always helps," Ladycats coach Luis Hernandez said. "It's a little tool we've had throughout the season. We've scored several goals like that. We put her in as a sub when we have the corner kicks. It's like, 'We've got this.'"
The bi-district game was a hot one. It was 85 degrees at the 5 p.m. first kick, Tyler's all-time high thus far in 2017, and a notable departure from the mild temperatures teams enjoyed during the winter months.
Rose Stadium's field turf playing surface made the playing conditions that much warmer.
Hernandez somewhat attributed the weather to what he thought was an up-and-down performance for Palestine (15-7-5). The Ladycats dictated the tempo of the game to the tune of nine shots on goal versus three from Henderson (11-9-1), but they didn't pull away until Isabel Garcia struck from 22 yards away at the 11:58 mark of the second half for a 2-0 edge.
"We're not used to it," Hernandez said. "Obviously we're playing at night, and it's usually pretty chilly. They're not used to it, but we're going to try to be used to it a little more so that hopefully we'll be ready for it at the regional tournament. That's probably one of the reasons, I'm not trying to make excuses, but that's one of the reasons we might not have played our best."
Palestine is a little closer to the regional tournament than most schools. It will receive a second-round bye because there are no soccer programs in the adjacent two districts for it to play.
The Ladycats will resume the tournament schedule April 3 at the earliest against either Chapel Hill or Pleasant Grove in the regional quarterfinals.
Regional tournament competition begins at the regional semifinal level. The winners of the semifinal games turn around and meet each other the next day with a ticket to the state tournament in Georgetown on the line.
"It's good, but I don't really like it, the break," Hernandez said. "Between the games is a week. I'd rather keep on playing. It's good that we go straight to the (regional) quarterfinals, but at the same time, it's not good for us."