Lady Dawgs Soccer goes 2-1-1 in KISD CenTex Invitational

By TJ MAXWELL 
Cove Leader-Press

That wasn’t the ending that Copperas Cove head soccer coach Pat Rox wanted for his squad in the rain-shortened KISD CenTex Invitational soccer tournament held this weekend, but he liked what he saw from his squad overall in the two-day, 16-team showdown.
“It was a good first tournament for us,” said Rox. “Of course, I wish we had longer games so we could look at more people for longer times, but there were some good teams out here to play. We appreciate the fact that we were able to play some higher quality teams.”
The Lady Dawgs lost their final game of the tournament to Salado in a 1-0 match after beginning the undefeated with wins over China Spring and Shoemaker and a tie with Manor.
“Salado is always a good opponent,” said Rox. “They are always in the playoffs and go deep in the playoffs, so there is no shame in losing to them. However, we do need to play better than we did today.”
The Salado Lady Eagles came out firing early and often in their green bracket vs. blue bracket championship game Saturday afternoon at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen.
Salado’s Hannah Reavis had two attempts on goal in the first eight minutes of the truncated 15-minutes halves. Her first attempt came in the first minute but Cove senior keeper Kaijah Lamkin made the save for the Lady Dawgs. Reavis’ second attempt sailed just wide in the seventh minute.
Reavis’ third shot, however, would find net. A cross by Salado’s Allison Carnahan was picked up by Reavis just outside of the box and she fired a roller between the legs of Lamkin for the lone goal of the match as time wound down in the shortened half.  
The Lady Dawgs picked up the intensity in the second half, limiting the Lady Eagles to just three attempts on goal in the second half while pouring on a couple attempts of their own, including a shot that sailed wide by junior Adora Lumpkin in the 28th minute. 
“I think we were having a little difficulty changing from our system,” said Rox. They were playing a 4-3-3 and we were playing 4-4-2 to start with. They had us outnumbered at mid-field so we had to change systems at half time. We played better in the second half, but we gave up that goal in the first half.”
The Lady Dawgs opened the tournament with a 2-0 blanking of China Spring. 
Junior forward Haven Stevenson scored both goals for the Lady Dawgs in the win while Lamkin earned the shutout in goal. Stevenson’s first goal came on a cross from sophomore Tori Olsen and her other goal came on the assist from Lumpkin.
In the second match of the tournament on Friday afternoon, Cove battled to a 0-0 tie with Manor in an evenly matched affair. Both teams had attempts on goal, but neither could find net. 
The Lady Dawgs then opened Saturday play with the early game at 8 a.m. against District 12-6A rival Shoemaker.
Neither team could find their rhythm early, but a goal in the 18th minute by Cove’s Lumpkin on the assist by junior Emily Cason was all the Lady Dawgs would need to lock up their spot in the 4:15 Blue/Green title game.
Despite having just four seniors on the roster (Melodie Balades, Jordyn Seibel, Lamkin and Audrey Spicer), Rox likes the maturity shown by his team thus far and hopes to see the team gel as they get more time on the pitch. 
“I’m encouraged,” he said. “We had a lot of people step forward and show they know how to play and take leadership roles. “We just have to learn better how to play together. It’s just about getting more time on the field together. 
“We’re going to San Marcos for a tournament next week and we’ll have four game against some higher-level competition. We’ll know a lot more about ourselves when we come back from there.”
Stevenson, Lumpkin, and junior defender Alexis Honts were named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Dawgs will face Round Rock Stony Point on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Rattler Stadium, Cedar Creek on Friday and Laredo Nixon on Saturday in pool play before their final bracket game.
The Lady Dawgs open District 12-6A play at home against Belton next Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. start time. 

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