Season ends for Lions soccer with 3-0 first-round loss to Bridgeport

Derrick Stuckly / Brownwood Bulletin
Conner Fitzgerald (2) pushes the ball upfield during the Brownwood Lions’ 3-0 loss to Bridgeport in Region I-4A bi-district playoff action Thursday night at Gordon Wood Stadium.

The Brownwood Lions’ soccer season reached its conclusion Thursday in the Region I-4A bi-district round of the playoffs, as District 3-4A champion Bridgeport tallied a 3-0 victory over the 4-4A fourth seed at Gordon Wood Stadium.

The Lions (2-12-2) surrendered a goal off a corner kick just 5:27 into the contest and were forced into catch up mode from the onset.

“We let them have an early goal and that stunned us a little bit, but it also woke us up and we got ourselves back in the game,” said Lions head coach Blake Danaher. “But it’s always hard when you start off giving up an early goal.”

The Lions were also playing without a pair of starters as Aaron Jimenez and Jon Kirbo were forced to sit out Thursday’s contest after being ejection from the regular season finale against Stephenville.

“Other than (goalkeeper) Brandon (Diaz) and Skylar (Andrews), everybody we had on the field is going to be back, so this was a good test for them,” Danaher said. “We’re a young team without a lot of soccer experience and sometimes that shows. But you can’t take anything away from their work ethic. I’m very proud of them.”

The Lions had a couple of opportunities to score as Conner Fitzgerald, Daniel Martinez and Zach Smith all fired shots on goal, but Bridgeport was able to deny the efforts.

“We had a few chances in the first half and a couple more in the second,” Danaher said. “The guys bought into the game plan pretty well.”

Diaz recorded 10 saves in goal for Brownwood, but Bridgeport was able to tack on a pair of goals in the final seven minutes with the Lions focusing all their efforts on the offensive end.

“We were going for it and when you open yourself up to a team that likes to finish and can connect on balls, you set up some open lanes and they took advantage and put two in the back of the net,” Danaher said. “But I don’t think the score explains the work ethic and organization we had on the field.”