GRAHAM — After handing formerly No. 1-ranked Stephenville its only loss of the year in the regular season finale a week prior, the Brownwood Lady Lions parlayed that momentum into a bi-district championship with Friday's 5-0 triumph over the Burkburnett Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Lions scored all five of their goals in the first 28 minutes, while Channing Barron and Tarynne Delap combined to post a shutout on the defensive end.
“(Burkburnett) was a good team but what helped us we got a goal early on, then we were able to get a second one shortly after that, and that just built up the girls' confidence,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Andrew Stevenson. “They were willing to take people on, take more shots which is something we really didn't do in district, but they stepped up today for the playoffs.”
Brownwood (9-9) needed less than five minutes to record the only goal required. A corner kick by Dusty Van Huss ricocheted off the left upright and into the middle of the field, where Miranda Guerrero was waiting and from 15 yards out drilled the first of her two goals just 4:08 into the contest.
Burkburnett (5-13-1) attempted to answer Brownwood's first goal as the Lady Bulldogs mounted their only true threat of the contest in the opening 15 minutes. Barron recorded a pair of saves, while Delap added two saves of her own in the second half.
“Our defense was good,” Stevenson said. “We were tested a couple of times early. Burkburkett's No. 8 (Raegan King) had a great game. She was fast, she could shoot and had a couple of shots. But overall I thought our defense did a good job of shutting them down and not giving them a whole lot of opportunities.”
Just beyond the midway point of the opening half, the Lady Lions reeled off four goals in a span of 7:12 to secure the outcome with more than 10 minutes still remaining before halftime.
The first goal came at the 19:54 mark when Khloe Tobien found the net from 10 yards out on the right side, burying a shot in the top middle portion of the net.
Just 52 seconds later, Guerrero scored again for the Lady Lions, smashing a 35-yard kick from the middle off the field into top left corner — and the route was on.
“The goal off the corner, our first one, really set the tone,” Stevenson said. “The goal that came from a good distance, that let the whole team know if you take a shot it has a good chance of going in. They took more opportunities and risks than they normally do and tonight they were falling in for us.”
At the 17:05 mark, just more than two minutes after the third goal, Brownwood increased the edge to 4-0 when Taylar Kinzler scored from 20 yards out on the right side, as the ball bounced off Burkburnett goal keeper Emma Driggers' hands and into the net.
An injury forced Driggers to leave the contest prior to Aleyia Cotton recording the final goal, that occurring at the 12:42 mark of the first half.
With the victory, the Lady Lions advance to the area round where they will face No. 7 Fort Worth Castleberry (19-3), which collected an 11-0 bi-district victory over Springtown. Game time is tentatively slated for 6 p.m. Monday back at Graham.