Record-breaking victory: Lady Tigers win first playoff game


Photo by Claire Norton

Sophomore Hannah Brantley (13) dribbles down the field against the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks.

Story by John David Goins, Online Editor in Chief

The Lady Tigers made school history on Friday as the first soccer team to win a playoff game. Captain Caroline Byrd, a junior, scored the only goal in the 1-0 shutout victory against Hallsville at Sam Parker Field.

“I felt like we had a really great team last year, as well as this year, but we got knocked out in the first round, so to be able to come back and win was a big deal because Hallsville was who knocked us out last year,” Byrd said. “We had really good wall passes, and I think we came in ready, while Hallsville came in thinking they could beat us like they did last year, and we showed them they couldn’t.”

Despite a shootout loss to Pleasant Grove last week, the Tigers won district–another one for the history books–overcoming the Hawks in league points, 23-22.

“This is awesome,” senior Makenzie Sangalli said. “This was the first time in Texas High history that we have ever won a playoff game, and this was our first time to win area.”

Hallsville put a tremendous amount of weight on senior goalkeeper Ezry Martin. While the team made several attempts to score, Martin never let a ball get past.

“I felt a lot of pressure from this game,”Martin said. “I was so nervous, and I couldn’t concentrate at the beginning of the game because of how pressured I was, but I am so happy I overcame it and that we won.”

Knowing Hallsville would be tough to defeat, the team worked on strategy all week.

“We had to man-mark No. 2 [on the Hallsville team] because she was the most dangerous player on the field and we worked on that all week, and we held her off and I am proud of the girls,” coach Dustin Holly said. “I don’t think soccer, for boys or girls, have ever won a playoff game for the school, so it’s for everybody–all the girls who put in the hard work, all the girls past, and all the girls present.”

The Lady Tigers will be taking on Mabank on Thursday or Friday, and Friday’s victory was just what the girls need to boost their confidence level for the next game.

“This is a huge success for us because we have never won a playoff game,” senior co-captain Lyndsey Knotts. “I feel honored that we won and that we will be continuing on into the playoffs my senior year.”

Despite what may happen in the next game, this record-breaking team is proud of their accomplishments.

“Yeah, I’m crying,” Martin said. “I’m just so excited because at the beginning of this year, we were told it was going to be really hard to even win a game, and here we are. We broke three records this year. I’m just so excited.”