This wasn’t how it was supposed to end for the Lake Travis girls soccer team. After dominating possession most of the game, the Cavaliers weren’t prepared for the stunning ending, losing 1-0 to McAllen on a late goal in the Class 6A, Region IV final Saturday at the Blossom Athletic Center.
McAllen sophomore Ava Alaniz cleared Lake Travis’ backline on a counterattack and beat junior goalie Jeannette Massey for the winner 77 minutes, 47 seconds into the game — only 2:13 away from extra time.
“Soccer’s funny. That happens a lot,” second-year Lake Travis coach Trey Young said about his team losing despite controlling large stretches of the contest. “We kind of played into their hands, and they finally popped one at the end.”
Young said the Cavaliers, who routed Brownsville Rivera 5-0 in the regional semifinal Friday, “didn’t move the ball quickly enough. We didn’t get wide. We possessed, but we didn’t penetrate the box enough.
“They executed a better game plan. They were very defensive playing a counterattack game, and they were successful at it. I felt we were out of our game,” he said.
Alaniz capitalized on McAllen’s best scoring opportunity. It was the only point-blank shot the Bulldogs (26-3-1) generated against a stingy Lake Travis defense that allowed a total of two goals in five playoff games.
“I knew it meant everything to us if we were going to make it to state,” said Alaniz, whose team defeated San Antonio Johnson 2-1 in the regional semifinal. “I was trying really hard to steady myself and be calm.”
The UIL state tournament is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown . Lake Travis (14-8-4), a team featuring only two seniors, fully expected to be playing there, Young said.
“Everybody was telling us, ‘We got it; we got it.’ I think we drank the Kool-Aid a little bit. We’re still young,” Young said.
Looking back on the season, he was more upbeat.
“Not a lot of people believed in us, so this has been a really satisfying year for everybody,” he said. “I honestly was looking at this as a five-year window when I took the job last year. I thought it would be three years, so we’re one year ahead of schedule.”