District play has been a mixed bag for the Gainesville Lady Leopards soccer team. They put up back-to-back big wins to begin their district slate, but since then, they are 1-2-2.
On Wednesday, March 10, in their final home game of the season, Gainesville opened the game with a goal, but Bridgeport scored the final three in a 3-1 defeat.
Head coach Danny Franco said it was disappointing not to be able to take advantage of the early lead with the wind at the Lady Leopards’ backs in the first half.
“We wanted to have the wind and we used the wind on the goal we scored, but we didn’t have enough emphasis to keep attacking,” Franco said. “We kind of got complacent and comfortable. They were OK with that one goal. We didn’t use the momentum.”
It was 1-1 at halftime with junior Angelina Arenas’s goal and Franco said before the game they were trying to keep the ball out of the middle of the field and press Bridgeport’s outside defenders.
Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out for Gainesville.
“We were just chasing the ball and they were able to attack us in the middle,” Franco said. “We talked about that and that we needed to support the forwards in the attacking third of the field. We didn’t have much support after that.”
Gainesville played to a 0-0 tie in the first matchup with Bridgeport and on the road, Franco said that was a good outcome.
“We should have won that game,” Franco said. “They couldn’t connect against us.”
This time around, the Lady Leopards had trouble finding their offense despite having solid defensive play throughout the game.
“I thought we played well defensively and were able to slow them down,” Franco said. “The second two goals we can’t make mistakes like that. We didn’t anticipate well and they got behind us. The third goal, they crossed it. My keeper had a chance to catch it, but she slapped it and they were able to jump on it. It was a few mental lapses. You’ve got to be able to focus.”
Franco said those lapses can take the wind out of the team’s sails. Counters can happen quickly and Franco said the team’s lack of consistency in the schedule has hurt the team.
“We had to deal with COVID early and then we had a gas leak that kept us from practicing and then we had an ice storm,” Franco said. “We’ve had injuries and we haven’t been able to piece anything together and get the ball rolling. Once we get any momentum, something happens in the game.”
Gainesville will close out the season with a road tilt against Burkburnett on Monday, March 15. Gainesville tied Burkburnett 0-0 on March 3 in a game that Franco said he felt the Lady Leopards should have won.
If the Lady Leopards can pull out the win, they’ll secure second place in the district.
In the meantime, the Lady Leopards will enjoy some much-needed rest, especially playing three games a week the past few weeks.
“The main thing is the rest because we’ve been hurting a lot,” Franco said. “The one day in between games kind of hurts and you feel rushed preparing them, but luckily we’ll have some key days to rest. We have to beat Burkburnett. It’s a game we should win. We just have to make sure we have the effort and intensity. If we do that, I know we can win.”