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Lady Lions squash Yellowjackets in home finale

Ennis ladies headed for first-ever playoff game
It was cold and rainy to be sure on Friday night, but Lady Lion soccer certainly heated up on the field.
In its regular-season finale, Ennis (6-16, 4-6) scored a season-high six goals and only allowed the Ferris Yellowjackets a goal in the closing moments of a 6-1 victory. Entering district play, Ennis needed to dominate Ferris and Lancaster to secure a playoff spot. The Lady Lions did just that, as they won those four games by a combined margin of 17-1.
More importantly, Ennis appears to be on the upswing with the playoffs looming.
“At halftime, I talked to the girls about this being the time that we needed to be peaking as a team with the playoffs up next,” said coach Kim Vernor.
“I think we’re playing at a higher level now and that should have the girls feeling good.”
Katie Lane led the way with two goals, while Alex Montemayor tallied two assists.
“It was a tough night out there because of the rain and it was really cold, but I think we did a really good job,” Montemayor said.
“I think we’ve improved as a team and our communication is better now, plus we just know more about the game.”

Ennis comes out firing
It didn’t take long for the home team to go on the offensive as Alexsis Zambrano fired a shot just wide in the opening minute. Vernor went out of her way to credit the strides made by her young midfielder.
“I thought Alexsis was really helping us in the middle,” the coach said.
“She has good speed and her ball control has improved during district. I think she and Katie will make a good midfield combination in the next couple of years.”
Ferris hung tough for five minutes before Ennis went ahead. The ball was hanging around in front of the Jacket goal far too long with a cluster of players from both teams on the scene. The wet conditions seemed to cost a Ferris defender dearly as she wasn’t able to boot the ball squarely and instead put an own goal past her keeper to the surprise of everyone (1-0).
“You always worry about a ball ricocheting off your defender the wrong way in front of the goal, and fortunately it happened to our opponent,” Vernor said.
In minute nine, Lane drilled a 35-yard shot that the Ferris goalie deflected up over the top for a corner kick. The Rosie Gallegos shot that followed went over the top of the goal, but Rosie would have her shining moment later on.
In the 15th minute, Montemayor brought the ball down the right side and lofted a great cross to the back side of the Ferris goal. Stefany Cantu tracked the ball in the air and delivered an excellent header that bounced past the stunned goalie at close range (2-0).
“That was the prettiest goal I’ve ever seen by Stefany and coach kept telling her she would score on a header like that this season,” Montemayor said.
“I like to give the ball to my teammates so they can score more than I like to score myself. I know they’ll be happy to get a goal and appreciate the opportunity.”
“That was an outstanding goal and Stefany has steadily improved throughout her career here in Ennis,” Vernor added.
The coach expected Montemayor to be a primary player for the Lady Lions this year and the junior hasn’t disappointed.
“Alex has been huge for us on the outside and I’m really pleased with how she’s come along this year,” Vernor said.
“Her crosses are beautiful and our other players are finally getting the right kind of timing on them [to score]. Alex’s touch on the ball is good and she’s also giving us good corner kicks.”
Just five minutes later, Montemayor was up to her old tricks with another run down the sideline and ensuing brilliant cross in front of the goal. This time, Angie Alejandre booted the ball in midair at close range past the Ferris goalie (3-0). Perhaps no player has given Ennis an unexpected boost this season like Alejandre.
“I never thought much about Angie at forward, but she works so well with [fellow forward] Jessica [Pita] and is just playing good soccer,” Vernor said.
“I’m very happy and surprised about her play this year.”
Lane took a long shot that went just wide in minute 23, but this was Katie’s night and she stayed with it. Three minutes later, the sophomore received a Pita cross and quickly put a shot in the corner of the goal thanks to excellent placement away from the keeper (4-0).
“Katie usually has a plan when she has the ball and I’m excited that she’s become more offensive-minded,” Vernor said of her ’08 all-district selection.
“It’s good to see her be in position to score.”
“Katie has good control in the middle and I think Alexsis does really well in the middle too, so it’s better for me to play on the outside and create for others,” Montemayor added.
A Pita header barely went wide of the goal in minute 30 as Ferris mercifully avoided further damage before halftime.

Players enjoy final
half on home turf
With just 40 minutes left for the Lady Lion seniors to enjoy their home finale, it was special in spite of the unpleasant conditions. Ferris appeared to have a dangerous one-on-one breakaway chance four minutes into the half, but speedy defender Tori Selvera managed to recover and squash the threat.
The Jackets actually seemed to get the better of the field position battle early in the half, yet the quality scoring chances just weren’t there. In minute 55, Lane found long-range success with a stellar shot. The center mid lofted a 35-yard shot high into the air and the accurate placement was too much for the Ferris goalie as the ball fell in right over the top of her for arguably the night’s best goal (5-0).
“When Katie is in position to score and she capitalizes it’s great to see,” Vernor said.
“We have to have our center mids involved like that.”
In minute 57, Gallegos took an 18-yard direct kick and drilled the ball over the top of the goal. Just two minutes later, Rosie would receive a similar set play opportunity from 20 yards out. Knowing she was capable of better on the prior attempt, Gallegos smashed a shot that deflected in off the top bar to the delight of her teammates (6-0).
“Free kicks are Rosie’s chance to be part of the offense and she seems to be getting a good feel for the ball to where she can do what she wants to with it,” Vernor said.
“Rosie stepped up to score a goal for us as a defensive player and I was happy to see it,” Montemayor added.
Goalie Chelsea Raburn charged out in minute 71 for a diving clearance and managed to shake off an injury with time running short in the game. With just four minutes left, a Ferris corner kick landed right in front of the Ennis goal. Defender Amanda Fleming did her best to kick it out of danger, but a Ferris forward was on the spot to put the ball in at close range to finalize the score.
“I had young subs all across the back [line] at that point and it was just a good opportunity to get them playing time,” Vernor said.
“Everybody deserved a chance to play in the last home game because that might not be possible in the playoffs.”
Speaking of the postseason, Ennis has a bye in the opening round and will hit the field on March 24 in Lancaster. It appears the Lady Lions will either play Dallas Kimball or Seagoville.
“We’ll try to work on defending corner kicks a little better and work on our decision making as passers,” Vernor said.
“It’s been frustrating for our upperclassmen to have never had that chance in the playoffs with the districts we’ve been in, so I know the girls are excited and I am too.”
While Montemayor isn’t a senior, she is one of the most experienced Lady Lions who’s paid her dues in the program.
“This playoff game is really something big for our seniors, and also for somebody like me too [as a veteran],” Alex said.
“It’s exciting to know we made it and are still playing.”

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Posted by on Mar 16 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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