Lady Lions edge China Spring, 2-1, for bi-district title

Jennifer Martinez converted the game-winning goal for the Lady Lions as Brownwood knocked off China Spring, 2-1, for a bi-district championship Monday.

CHINA SPRING — With 7:37 remaining in regulation, the Brownwood Lady Lions’ one-goal advantage vanished and it appeared overtime was in the cards.     

However, with 4:19 to go, Jennifer Martinez drilled a wide open goal from 30 yards out, lifting the Lady Lions to a 2-1 victory over China Spring Monday in the Region III-4A bi-district round of the playoffs.

“I just saw it and took it,” Martinez said. “When it’s there, it’s there, and you don’t really get chances like that very much. You have to take them as they come.”

The Lady Lions (14-5-2) will advance to the area round of the playoffs where they will face the winner of the bi-district battle between District 35-4A champion Palestine and District 36-4A fourth seed Navasota, who play at 6 p.m. today at Waco Robinson. Brownwood’s next playoff game is tentatively scheduled for Friday at Waco Robinson.

“I’m really proud of the girls,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Keith Robinson. “I’m a very negative person to begin with so I don’t tell them enough how proud I am of them. But the effort they put forth and the way they were able to fight and get that last goal, I’m so happy for them.”

After a scoreless first half, the Lady Lions finally lit up the scoreboard with 26:10 remaining as Tori Sanchez scored following an assist from Martinez.

“The second half of the season we’ve struggled scoring goals, but I knew it was just a matter of time before we broke loose,” Robinson said. “I’m elated for Tori because she’s been through so many formation changes and today she was alone up top, but she came through.”

The only blemish defensively for the Lady Lions came with just under eight minutes left following a free kick that rattled around inside the box and eventually found the net.

“Overall I thought we played very well,” Robinson said of the defense. “China Spring played a lot more physical than we’re accustomed to, but they kept their composure.”

Martinez and the Lady Lions hope to continue their postseason run as Brownwood has set a goal of making its first-ever appearance in the regional tournament.

“This is an exciting feeling and we’ve worked so hard for this,” Martinez said. “It’s something we feel like we deserve. I have a lot of confidence in our team and I think we can go pretty far.”