Football High School 

Lady Dawgs punch ticket to regional tourney, a program first

The Burnet High School girls soccer team’s historical march through the 2022 Class 4A playoffs continues thanks to a thrilling 3-2 double overtime win over undefeated Giddings in the regional quarterfinals on April 1.

The Lady Dawgs (18-7-3, 11-4 District 18-4A) used a crossing pass and nailed two penalty kicks to end the Lady Buffaloes’ (19-1-1, 8-0 District 19-4A) season.

“Those girls hadn’t lost all season,” Burnet head coach Kimberly Myhre said of Giddings. “And no one expected us to win. The girls wanted to win. They pumped each other up. One hundred minutes of soccer is a lot. So when that final buzzard went off, we were so excited. Some of my girls fell to the turf. It’s so cool to be apart of history. It’s fun.”

Burnet, which didn’t advance past the second round of the playoffs until this season, will make its Class 4A Region III tournament debut against Bay City (26-1-1, 8-0 District 24-4A champion) at 11 a.m. Friday, April 29, at Legacy Stadium, 1830 Katyland Drive in Katy.

Against Giddings, Burnet scored first on a pass from Caty Crow to Julie Suazo with 10 minutes left in the half.

“Julie was in for two minutes and Caty found her on a cross,” Myhre said. “Julie had a beautiful touch.”

The lead was short lived as Giddings scored four minutes later to tie the contest at 1-1 on a ricochet at the half. Goalie Juliet Morales stopped the first attempt, but the ball rolled to a waiting Lady Buffalo shooter.

During the intermission, Myhre reminded the Lady Dawgs of a talk given by Burnet High School boys track and field head coach and football assistant coach Ben Speer, who talked about adversity and having answers.

“I told them they needed to show up with every last thing they had and they needed to leave it,” she said. “Coach Speer talked about facing your giants and giving it everything. It was awesome. It truly shows heart and passion can win games.”

Giddings broke the tie 10 minutes into the second half and kept the lead for the next 20 minutes.

“We started moving the ball well,” Myhre said. “They had a handball in the box that resulted in a penalty kick.”

Coaches are allowed to choose the shooter. Myhre asked Crow to take the shot, which found the back of the net to tie the match at 2-2 with about 10 minutes left in regulation.

“She is calm and collected when she gets to the line,” the coach said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, she makes those. She doesn’t panic, she doesn’t let the pressure get to her.”

In the first overtime, Burnet took the lead for good thanks to another successful penalty kick. This time it was by Amelia Griffin, who was fouled in the box with two minutes left. By University Interscholastic League rule, however, two overtimes must be played even if one team has the lead.

During the two-minute break between the two extra sessions, Myhre said she didn’t have to say much.

“Something clicked in their heads, and we were giving 200 percent. It started clicking,” she said. “The girls were pumped. I looked around, I could see it on their faces how bad they wanted it. They were pushing each other, hyping each up. They showed up to play in a way which I’ve ever seen or heard before. They had so much energy and hype that helped us win.”

Though the Lady Dawgs end every practice by taking penalty kicks, Myhre noted it’s difficult to simulate the pressure of the moment during drills. She commended the two shooters for taking advantage of their opportunities that led to victory.

“It’s hard during a game, but you have to make those,” the coach said. “Both of those girls showed up and made them.”

While the offensive efforts draw the attention, Myhre praised the Lady Dawgs’ defense, especially Reagan Shipley and Bella Poppell, who were charged with keeping the fastest Lady Buffs from converting breakaway opportunities.

“They crushed it in the back,” she said. “They bodied them up.”

The Lady Dawgs welcome the extra time to recover from this match for the regional tournament. That means breaking the Tuesday-Friday match schedule of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. But that also means the possibility of playing in back-to-back matches next weekend. The other regional semifinal features Burnet district foe Lake Belton (27-1, 8-0 District 18-4A champion) and Lumberton (19-3-1, 12-0 District 21-4A champion) at 3 p.m. Friday.

“The girls are exhausted,” Myhre said. “This group of girls has the most fight and heart I’ve ever been a part of. They have each other’s backs and want to win for each other. They all get along. At first our goal was to get to the second round of the playoffs. Then we wanted to go to the regional tournament. We’re taking it game by game and showing up to compete. And they don’t want to let each other down. What a ride — it’s such a fun journey.”

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