By Jim Irish
Photos by Jim Irish
The Bastrop girls soccer team didn’t bother knocking on the door. They broke through it.
Failing to advance beyond the Class 5A bi-district round the past two years, the Bears (14-9-1) eliminated Richards School for Young Women Leaders 4-2 at Erhard Stadium on Friday.
The victory in the playoffs was actually the first for Bastrop since 2011 when it advanced to the third round under current Bastrop boys coach Marc Cox.
Richards (18-3) suffered its second loss of the season against Bastrop, having lost 2-1 in a tournament match in January.
"... We make mistakes, but we correct them."
-- Bastrop coach Leslie Rangel
“I’m just incredibly proud of these girls,” said Bastrop coach Leslie Rangel in her fourth season. “This was a quality team we matched up against (with) a lot of speed. We make mistakes, but we correct them. These girls worked so hard.”
Rangel specifically pointed to the eight seniors on the roster for their commitment to the program.
“Their freshman season got cut off by Covid,” she said. “Sophomore year we made it but got knocked out (by McCallum). Junior year we took it to double overtime (in a loss to Anderson). We’ve been taking a step every year. They took that (next) step.”
Bastrop moves on to the area round where it will confront Magnolia (16-4-1), a 6-0 winner over Waco, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Brenham High School.
Gonzalez, Romney tally two goals each
Bastrop’s Taylor Gonzalez and Rylee Romney each scored two goals.
Gonzalez, a senior, primarily plays on the backline but has the speed and versatility to shift to offense. She also takes all the team’s set pieces i.e. corner and free kicks.
Richards jumped in front 1-0 on a goal by forward Elle Vogel off a ricochet shot by Yaretzi Vasquez in the 15th minute.
Before Vogel’s goal, Bastrop goalkeeper Rebecca McFarland stopped a point-blank shot by Vasquez on a breakaway.
“(McFarland) had a couple of great saves,” Richards coach Andy Langford said. “We had some chances.”
Gonzalez appeared to penetrate the goal line on a free kick from about 30 yards in the 23rd minute. But the head referee and a linesman conferred before confirming it.
Bears take advantage of five corner kicks
Bastrop earned five corner kicks in the first half. Romney, a sophomore forward, bent low on a header after a corner kick by Gonzalez to score the go-ahead goal in the 38th minute.
“Taylor has a beautiful corner kick,” Rangel said. “Olivia (Altamirano), Rylee, and Elena (Rodela) have gotten really good at getting on the backside of those (corners), making opportunities for us. We had three headers.”
Fleet-footed Vasquez penetrated the Bastrop defense to tie it at 2-2 midway through the second half.
“(Richards) wanted to drop it, play the through ball, force us into a recovery defense, and give (Vasquez) one-on-one in a recovery,” Rangel said.
A major factor in limiting Richards’ attack was Bastrop’s offside trap in which the backline moved forward in unison to create a penalty. The Bears successfully pulled it off 12 times in the match, stalling Richards’ offense.
Bastrop's offside trap stymies Richards
“Our girls have gotten very good at it,” Rangel said. “My defense has gotten good at it. They’re very good decision makers and communicators. They’re at the point now, they can see when it’s a good time. Generally, it’s central defender Kallie Kawazoe who calls the offside trap.”
Langford said the offside trap stymied his team's attack.
"(Bastrop) was fantastic."
-- Richards coach Andy Langford describing Bastrop's offside trap
“(Bastrop) was fantastic,” he said. “We talked about it. We didn’t get it right enough times.
We knew they were gonna run it from other teams and scouting reports. We practiced it.
“Your wings have to be smarter and make runs along the line rather than forward. We didn’t do that consistently enough.”
Richards was charged with a handball in the 70th minute. On the penalty kick, Gonzalez — substituting for Romney who had a cut on her elbow — beat Richards goalkeeper Ayla Gonzalez to right.
Romney was tripped in the penalty box in the 78th minute and also drilled the penalty kick to the right side.
“I was telling (the players) that it’s a beautiful game most of the time, and sometimes it just hurts,” Langford said. “It bounces the wrong way, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas