STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Though the Burnet High School girls soccer team ended its year March 29 with a 9-0 loss to Wimberley in a bi-district championship, Lady Dawgs head coach Matthew Russell said one game does not define the season.
Rather, 2019 was defined by the Lady Dawgs’ effort to keep fighting no matter the circumstances.
The Lady Texans (21-3-2 overall, 5-2-1 District 28-4A) seized control of the match 88 seconds into it, scoring their first of four goals within the opening 12 minutes of the contest. By the half, they held a 6-0 lead over the Lady Dawgs (8-17, 6-6 District 27-4A).
Russell said Wimberley is “a very well-established program.”
“Our program hasn’t been around as long,” he said, noting Burnet has only had soccer for four years. “(My players) showed a lot of fight and heart. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody else we played this year.”
The Lady Texans played with an offensive mindset throughout the contest, even when they didn’t have the ball. They stepped into many passing lanes to steal the ball, quickly closed passing lanes, and kept their spacing to force one-on-one isolation. In short, they were precise with the ball and didn’t overpass or take “unsure” shots.
“They’re a very aggressive team, a team that knows how to close space,” Russell said. “Once they got the ball, they knew what to do.”
The Lady Dawgs, who advanced to the playoffs for the third consecutive year, lost seven players to graduation last year. This year, Burnet focused a lot on gelling as a team, learning to trust each other, and relying on others to come through when it mattered, Russell said.
“There was a lot of growth teamwise,” he said. “Our two captains (seniors Kinley Beyer and Jazlyn Marvin) are truly team captains. They know how to lead without being prompted or told.”
Also new to the team was senior goalie Kaylie Russell, a volleyball player who’d never stepped on the pitch until Russell shared the joys of the sport with her.
“She had a good work ethic with good hand-eye coordination,” he said. “She improved by leaps and bounds. She’s a good kid with a good heart. She’ll do anything you ask her to do.”