Lady Leopards prep for season opener

Gainesville Lady Leopard Amanda Eddowes (front) kicks out of her own goal in front of keeper Paola Vazquez during the team’s three-team scrimmage over the weekend at Memorial Stadium in Mesquite. The Lady Leopards defeated Argyle 3-0 and tied West Mesquite 2-2.

Over the weekend, the Lady Leopards participated in a 3-team scrimmage at Memorial Stadium in Mesquite.

The Lady Leopards faced off against rival Argyle in the first game and smashed the Eagles 3-0.

The girls came ready to play and were aggressive right from the start. The Lady Leopards scored their first goal in the 15th minute of the first half off a Marisol Chavez corner kick. The kick was sent high and Whytneigh Duffie was able to head it backward for Jordan Garcia who was sprinting into the box. Garcia blasted kicked the one-timer past the Argyle goalkeeper.

During the second half, the girls continued to play strong and scored goal number two in the 8th minute on another Marisol Chavez corner kick. The deep cross was put away by Rubi Saenz who was standing on the back post. Finally, in the final 7 minutes of the game, Selena Espinosa took a shot from 30 yards out. It skimmed off an Argyle defenders head and into the goal for the final score of the game. The defense was led by goalkeeper Paola Vazquez who had 9 saves in the game and also by the outstanding defensive play of Amanda Eddowes, Yadira Puente, Shelly Reynolds and Selena Espinosa. Jacqueline Franco and Amanda Ginther also provided great work in the midfield and defensive third.

Next, the Lady Leopards had to face West Mesquite, a team that beat them 5-0 last season.

Despite being exhausted from putting forth amazing effort in the first game, the girls came out strong from the beginning.

Five minutes into the game, Marisol Chavez sent a long pass to Maria Castillo who used her speed to get around the defender and put it away for an early 1-0 lead.

“The first half was full of aggresive, fast play and our defense did everything possible to keep the shutout going into halftime,” Gainesville coach Heather Medlen said.

Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long after a hand ball by Gainesville in the box gave West Mesquite a penalty kick. The goal was made and it was 1-1 in the 10th minute of the second half.

Eight minutes later, it was 2-1 West Mesquite after capitalizing on a mistake through the midfield and into the defense. After playing one game and now being down in their second game, the Lady Leopards did not give up.

With about 13 minutes left in the game, the Lady Leopards exposed a weak element of the West Mesquite defense and began attacking it with a vengeance. Several breakaways by Duffie, Garcia and Estephanie Martin were almost goals but barely missed.

With time winding down, the Leopards pushed one more time and it paid off. Espinosa stepped up to a ball, and sent it down the field for Duffie who headed it over the last defender and ripped the ball over the West Mesquite goalkeepers head to tie the game 2-2. Vazquez finished the game with 15 saves.

“It was a very hard fought, emotional game and the Lady Leopards were very proud of the result,” coach Medlen said. “All of their hard work is finally paying off and it feels great.

“The Lady Leopards played exceptionally well this weekend, marking tight on defense, playing aggressive and not backing down to any challenge they faced. Looking from last year to now, there has been tremendous improvements on both sides of the ball and this season is shaping up to be a successful year.”

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