BY TONY EIERDAM
For the third season in a row, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams soccer team and Brewer played in the final match of the year in a winner-makes-the-playoffs match to qualify for the final district playoff spot.
And for the third consecutive year the Lady Rams got the job done.
Paced by a late penalty kick goal by senior Molly Clarke and stellar play in goal by freshman goalkeeper Brittany Smith, the Lady Rams outlasted the Brewer Lady Bears, 1-0, Tuesday night at Ram Stadium which earned MWHS a playoff spot while the Lady Bears miss the playoffs by one match for the third straight year.
Clarke, who Lady Rams head coach John Tuggle always chooses to execute penalty kicks, had a plan before kicking what turned out to be the match-winning, playoff-clinching goal.
“Any time you have a penalty kick you know the goalkeeper can’t read the shooter,” Clarke said. “I just kept my eyes down at the ball and picked a corner.
“The goalkeeper has no idea what the shooter is doing. I knew a taller goalie like Brewer’s would have a tough time getting to a (low) corner.”
The win seemed unlikely at the half despite the teams playing to a 0-0 tie.
The Lady Rams had a strong north wind at their backs, and although MWHS had an advantage, Brewer actually had better scoring chances in the first half.
Clarke said the team did not panic when forced to play into the wind in the critical second half.
“Even though we were going against the wind in the second half, it was still 0-0 and we know how to play into the wind,” Clarke said.
Tuggle said the style of play the Lady Rams employ makes going into the wind less of a factor.
“Going against the wind has never really been a huge factor for us with the way we play,” Tuggle said. “We knew they were going to eventually foul us, and we just wanted to get the ball in the box, and sure enough they fouled us in the box.
“I knew Molly would put the ball in the back of the goal. We actually practiced PKs (Monday) a lot during our workout.
“But we also got some great help from Brittany. She stepped in goal against Azle (on March 1) when our starting goalie got sick and we have never looked back since. We have a lot of confidence in Brittany.”
Despite facing the stiff wind, the Lady Rams had more second-half scoring chances than Brewer.
In a span of 11 minutes in the middle of the half, seniors Sami Stevens and Miriam Garcia had scoring chances in deep, but Brewer’s ‘keeper denied both opportunities.
The Lady Rams also failed to convert on a loose ball just five feel from the goal as the game remained scoreless.
But with 7:22 left to play, Brewer was called for a hand ball touch in the penalty box area as MWHS was awarded a penalty kick.
Clarke, keeping her head down, whistled a low line-drive kick that caught the back of the net just inside the left post. Brewer’s ‘keeper had jumped to her left and never had a chance to stop the shot.
The Lady Rams kept play in Brewer’s defensive end for the remaining seven minutes to seal the victory.
The MWHS ladies will play state-ranked No. 4 Denton Guyer in the bi-district playoffs. The match will be played either Monday or Tuesday. Check www.mineralwellsindex.com for location, date and start time.
Tuggle feels the Lady Rams have started a tradition that will only carry on next year when Mineral Wells and other Class 3A schools will play for a Class 3A state championship.
“I feel like we have a tradition and have set an expectation,” he said. “We are elated right now. We will play Denton Guyer in the first round of the playoffs and they are extremely good.
“They have dominated (District 11-4A), and we will have to step up and play well.”
The Lady Rams senior captain said the experience of needing to win the last match to gain a playoff berth has bonded the team.
“It is an incredible feeling going to the playoffs for the third year in a row,” Clarke said. “It would be nice if we didn’t have to wait until the last game every year, but it makes it more exciting, and it has made us come together as a team.”
Clarke’s late goal helps Lady Rams defeat Brewer, 1-0, to seal postseason berth
BY TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
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- Swimming to State