• Centennial’s Megan Walker, left, tries to work her way past Burleson’s Jordan Walker during Friday’s District 9-5A game at Centennial. BURLESON STAR/SHAW STUDIO

Shootout settles crosstown meeeting in girls soccer

Centennial senior keeper Caitlin Thomasson has one goal during a penalty kick shootout, to make a save on the first shot.

Thomasson said that if she can make that first save it not only gives her a lift but also gives the Lady Spartan shooters a boost.

Friday night facing crosstown rival Burleson in a District 9-5A shootout, Thomasson saved Burleson’s first shot off the foot of Jordan Walker.

The Lady Spartans went on to win the shootout, 4-3, when a shot by Burleson’s Gracie Spradley clanked off the crossbar.

“It was a miracle (that the shot didn’t go in),” Thomasson said. “It felt great.”

The shootout win gave the Lady Spartans the series sweep. Centennial beat Burleson, 1-0, on the road in the first half of district play. The win also gave the Lady Spartans two points in the 9-5A standings.

The teams played to a 1-1 tie in regulation.

“I like playing close district games like this because it makes us a better team,” Centennial coach Kara Cuellar said. “It would have been nice to get the three points but I’ll take the two points.”

Burleson coach Erin Poyner said the physical nature of the Friday’s game didn’t mesh with the Lady Elks style of play.

“We really prefer a possession-oriented style of play and struggle when the game becomes too direct,” Poyner said. “The ball wasn’t on the ground enough overall. We’re the youngest team in the district and experience has provided us plenty of learning opportunities.”

After a scoreless first half, Centennial took the lead three minutes into the final half when Casie Watson scored off an assist from Madi Pewitt.

Cuellar said the Lady Spartans came into the game knocking picking up points would be difficult after Centennial scored late in the first meeting to steal a win and three points.

“I know Burleson was disappointed after losing in the first round because they outplayed us in the second half but we were able to squeak one in and win,” Cuellar said. “We tried to make more adjustments and be more solid marking up their key players.”

The plan worked until the Lady Spartans defense broke down in the final five minutes.

Burleson’s Faith Strube’s pass found Adriana Zaragoza who fired a shot toward the goal. The ball hopped past Thomasson’s reach and skipped into the net for the game-tying goal.

“We had a little bit of confusion on their goal,” Cuellar said. “It’s games like this that make high school soccer exciting. I have a lot of respect for coach Poyner and the job she is doing at BHS. She has a lot of talented players.”

Lady Elks get a key win Tuesday

Burleson bounced back from the shootout loss to Centennial with a 2-1 home victory over Cleburne Tuesday night.

Laura Jordan notched the first goal off an assist from Bailey Berry. Spradley scored the game-winner with the assist going to Jordan.

The win moved the Lady Elks (7-5-1, 22 points) into sole possession of fourth place in 9-5A. The Lady Elks are six points ahead of fifth place Cleburne. Burleson plays at Arlington Seguin Friday and hosts Crowley Tuesday night.

Centennial didn’t fare as well at Granbury as the Lady Spartans lost 2-1 to the Lady Pirates. Madison Collier scored an unassisted goal.

The Lady Spartans (7-1-4, 24 points) are tied for second place with Crowley. Centennial hosts first-place Joshua Friday and plays at Everman Tuesday.

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