Copperas Cove junior Ali McBride battles for possession with Ellison’s Billie Nail during their 12-6A contest on Monday. The Lady Dawgs are one win away from a return trip to the playoffs. They host Harker Heights tonight for senior night before closing out the season at Shoemaker.

Lady Dawgs close in on playoffs



The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs soccer team put itself one step closer to a playoff berth with a split against Ellison and Midway on backto- back nights to begin the week. The Lady Dawgs began their week on Monday with a weather make-up game against the Ellison Lady Eagles. Inclement weather and hazardous road conditions forced Friday’s matchup to be postponed until Monday. In a must-win scenario to keep their playoffs hopes alive, the Lady Dawgs needed to pull out a win over Ellison to keep a solid grip on that fourth and final playoff spot. They did just that in a 3-2 thriller. “We were hoping to be playing for third place but when we dropped the match to Heights, that kind of went out the window,” said Copperas Cove girls’ head soccer coach Pat Rox after the win. “We’re in pretty good position to come in fourth place, which means we get to play somebody’s first-place team. That’s not a good thing, but making the playoffs is a good thing. I think we need one more win to assure us a playoff spot and we have three games to get it in.” Cove junior Ale Ross put the Lady Dawgs on the scoreboard first with an early goal with an assist by senior Ali McBride. McBride then took a more aggressive stance at the request of her coaches, scoring the next goal to give the Lady Dawgs a 2-0 lead midway through the first half. Freshman Kaylie Walker was credited with the assist. “(Ali McBride) played well,” said Rox. “She is the unknown factor for the other team. She’s left, right and in between – where ever she needs to be. She always has a deadly shot. The problem we have with Ali is sometimes she wants to pass to somebody else instead of taking the shots. Tonight, we convinced her to take some shots.” McBride is adjusting well to the new role, evidenced by the two goals she scored against Ellison. “It’s a really big change,” McBride said about her change in roles. “I’m usually the one that likes to see the field and to pass around to everybody to make it as beautiful of a game as possible. They’re telling me to shoot. It’s a tough change but it’s doable. A breakaway goal by Ellison’s Lourdes Moreno shortly after made it a onegoal advantage for the Lady Dawgs, 2-1. McBride and Walker again combined for what would prove to be the gamewinner before the conclusion of the first half for a 3-1 Lady Dawgs’ lead at the break. Although, the Lady Dawgs had many more opportunities on goal in the second half, another breakaway goal – this one by Ellison’s Megan Robinson pulled the Lady Eagles within one, 3-2. That was as close as they would get. ‘“I was real pleased with their effort,” said Rox. “We had some nice passing combinations. The difficulties we had were in finishing, which is something we’ve been working on quite a bit. We did get three goals out of it but we had lots of opportunities we did not finish.” McBride knows her leadership is key to helping continue a strong legacy of Lady Dawgs’ soccer. “It’s pretty important because we are continuing our legacy,” she said. “When I was a freshman, one of the seniors showed me how it was done. I learned a lot from her, so I have to continue on her legacy and I hope someone will do the same for me.” The junior varsity squad put an exclamation mark on the outing defeating Ellison 9-1 in the second game of the doubleheader. The Lady Dawgs then suffered a 6-0 loss to the undefeated, district-leading Midway Pantherettes (9-0) on Tuesday. McBride knew the importance of getting at least one win. “The win was pretty important because it took us a step closer to the playoffs,” she said. “If we win against Shoemaker, it will guarantee our position.” The Lady Dawgs (5-5 in District 12-6A) have two remaining chances to get one win to secure their spot in the playoffs. They host the Harker Heights Lady Knights at the Avenue E. soccer complex tonight before completing their regular season at Shoemaker next Tuesday. The coaches will celebrate the senior members of the team with a ceremony prior to kickoff of the game with Harker Heights. The Lady Dawgs have seven seniors who will play their final home game Friday. Coach Rox hopes to iron out the wrinkles in these last two games to first reach the playoffs, but then do well once they’re there. “We have to work on our finishing,” he said. “We’ve got too many opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net that we didn’t do. Our back line, we have a tendency to go to sleep a little bit when we’re doing well offensively. Then we’re susceptible to the quick breakaway and that’s gotten us a couple times. We need to improve on that.” ---- Bulldawgs fall 2- 1 against Midway The Bulldawgs came up short against Midway 2-1. Scoring within the first minute of action for the Dawgs was Andrew Chapman. Midway tied on a set play with 14 minutes left in the first half and sealed the win with a second goal with 7:44 left in the game. The Dawgs hit the road Friday bound for Harker Heights before hosting Shoemaker in the season finale next Tuesday.

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