Gainesville

The Gainesville Lady Leopards soccer team hasn’t lost in four games. However, they haven’t scored in two games as they have been a part of back-to-back scoreless ties against Bridgeport and Burkburnett on Wednesday, March 3.

While it wasn’t a loss, head coach Danny Franco said the result wasn’t the result he or the team wanted.

“It was disappointing because we just didn’t have any energy or any time of bite offensively,” Franco said. “We let them stay in the game and gave them chances to score. These are the games you’ve got to win if you want to be a team that can make a run in the playoffs. We couldn’t figure it out. We just didn’t have anything up top to offer.”

The lack of offensive production is what’s holding the team back the past few games, but before these two scoreless ties, the Lady Leopards posted 5-0 and 5-1 wins.

Franco said the goal is to get back to those offensive ways, but the Lady Leopards have been dealing with a rash of injuries lately and playing three games in five days isn’t helping them recover. Franco said it has been tough on the entire team.

“We just don’t have the next man up,” Franco said. “Maybe it’s too much or too soon for some kids, but we’re just struggling to find that offensive production mainly. We get real tentative. We don’t have the movement and we’re getting in the habit of watching teammates just dribble instead of getting open or wanting the ball. We’ve got to get the players to want more and get after it.”

Against Burkburnett, the Lady Leopards also picked up four more injuries, so as they transition to the second half of district play, they’ll have to get healthy in a hurry.

Gainesville’s 0-0 tie against Bridgeport wasn’t as disappointing as Wednesday’s tie against Burkburnett because Franco said playing well on the road against a good team was a positive result.

“Friday’s game against Bridgeport wasn’t as frustrating because I thought we played well,” Franco said. “We’ve just got to find that production somewhere.”

As tough as it has been for the offense, the Lady Leopards’ defense hasn’t given up a goal in three games. Franco said the team will need to continue that stingy play while rediscovering its offense.

“It’s a credit to our defense and our keepers especially when they’re taking the shots,” Franco said. “We would lose it in the midfield and they’ve been there to clean up the mistakes. They’ve been concentrating and doing their job.”

Iris Castriuta has taken over as keeper for the Lady Leopards after Daniela Marin was unavailable for two weeks. Also, Franco needed to move Marin to the field because of the lack of players.

Franco said Castriuta has taken ahold of the new gig and thrived.

“She’s been in goal since our tournament and she used to be a keeper her freshmen year,” Franco said. “With the injuries, she was able to step up and fill that gap while Marin was good. She’s made some big-time saves and against Decatur and Bridgeport, she was tested at times and she made some big saves for us.”

Gainesville has two more road games against Decatur and Wichita Falls Hirschi before it returns home Wednesday, March 10, for a tilt with Bridgeport.

Reach Patrick Hayslip at sports@gainesvilleregister.com and Twitter at @PatrickHayslip

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