Lady Dawgs handed 9-0 loss from Belton
By Clay Whittington
Francisco Bernal knows what has to be done in order to create a winning program, and it will not be easy.
The Lady Bulldawgs’ first-year head coach inherits a program with just one returning starter in defender Delisa Dudley, who was placed on the 12-6A All-District First Team, and a wealth of inexperience.
Despite the turnover, expectations remain high for Copperas Cove as it attempts to return to the postseason, but Bernal must first forge his players into a cohesive unit, and he understands losses like the 9-0 defeat suffered Monday versus visiting Belton are a necessary part of the process.
“We could take the easy route,” he said, “but I came to the conclusion that the girls need to be thrown into the fire. There is no point to just schedule teams that we can easily beat.
“I don’t want to be on the receiving end of games like this, and the girls don’t either, but we want competitive matches. We really want to find out where we are at and what we need to work on.”
The Lady Bulldawgs simply could not generate any momentum in their first match of the new year.
After a 10-minute scoreless span to start the contest, the Lady Tigers, who won four consecutive District 12-6A championships before dropping a classification, found their rhythm, recording five goals before halftime, and Copperas Cove (0-1-1) could not recover.
While the intention is always to win, the loss actually drew Bernal closer to his goal.
“In order for us to get better,” he said, “we have to play some very talented teams, and again, it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but it gives us a chance to see where we are lacking. This was a great opportunity to learn.”
Now, the Lady Bulldawgs are set to be tested again.
Copperas Cove continues play at the Humble ISD tournament today, when it encounters Lumberton. Then, the Lady Bulldawgs play Spring Grand Oaks on Saturday to conclude their stay. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
On Thursday, Copperas Cove opened its three-day schedule against the host Wildcats, but a final score was not available.
The Lady Bulldawgs return home next week for a pair of matches, welcoming Round Rock Cedar Ridge (7:15 p.m.) on Tuesday before hosting Killeen Ellison (7 p.m.) on Jan. 13.
First, however, Bernal wants to take another step forward as a team at Humble.
“Tough opponents like these allow us to work on what I want to work on,” he said, “which is building out the back and playing under pressure. Obviously, we didn’t do a good job of that against Belton, but I would rather them start feeling that pressure now than when district hits.”