Aledo sophomore forward Grace Orneles’ goal with 1:31 left to play tied the match and sent it into a shootout where the Ladycats prevailed, 4-2, to win the girls’ championship match of the Moritz Kia Tournament of Champions soccer tournament Saturday night at Bearcat Stadium.
Trailing 1-0 but dominating the flow of play, the Ladycats pressed to score in the final five minutes but could not cash in on consecutive corner kicks.
But with just over a minute and half left in regulation, Ornelas retrieved the ball and sent a shot from 22 yards on the right side. The ball sailed through traffic and into the net to tie the score.
“I just knew I had to do something to keep my team in the game,” Ornelas said. “When I got the ball I saw the (Birdville) ‘keeper and I just sent a shot and hoped it would go in, and it went in. ”
That set up a shootout (tournament rules state that all tie matches go directly to shootout), and the Ladycats dominated.
Ornelas scored the first shootout goal, but Birdville countered with a tally. Aledo’s second shooter, Caroline Miller, chipped a shot into the upper corner for a 2-1 lead. The scored stayed 2-1 after Birdville shot wide right on its second attempt.
Aledo took a 3-1 lead after a goal from Reagan Knesek, but Birdville matched the score to cut the Ladycats’ lead to 3-2. On Aledo’s fourth shootout attempt, freshman Ashlyn Laughley sent a hard shot to the back of the net for a 4-2 lead.
With Birdville needing to score to keep the shootout going, Aledo goalkeeper Emma Davis got a hand on the shot and deflected it off the goal post for the stop as the jubilant Ladycats rushed the field to mob Davis and celebrate their home tournament championship.
“This should really help the confidence of our team,”Ladycats head coach Bryan Johnson said. “Grace’s goal was big time. They are resilient, and they are never going to stop. They have a great attitude about them, and positive things happen to positive people. After we let in a goal the girls never stopped; they kept working. Birdville is a great team, and I am excited about what we have done so far this year.”
After a scoreless first half, Birdville scored with 12:45 left in the second half to break a scoreless tie. That set up the frantic, final minutes of regulation that saw the Ladycats tie the match and send it to a shootout.
Bearcats 2, Birdville 1
Tommy Breaux’s goal from in front of the net late in the second half stood as the Bearcats defeated Birdville in the tournament’s third-place match Saturday afternoon at Bearcat Stadium..
Breaux’s goal was assisted by Micco Little.
Aledo led 1-0 at the half courtesy of a goal from Harper Smith on a breakaway. Birdville tied the match at 1-1 nearly three minutes into the second half.
Aledo dominated play in the second half, with Breaux’s goal giving the ‘Cats the lead for good.
For more on both matches see the Friday, Jan. 18 issue of The Community News.