Lady Indians fight to continue dance

Published 9:34 pm Saturday, April 2, 2016

PORT NECHES — Cinderella is still dancing in the Class 5A Region III playoffs.
Port Neches-Groves Lady Indians soccer coach Aimee Bates has taken to this description with her team.
Bates and her squad knocked off another of the region’s best teams Friday, and this Tuesday at Stallworth Stadium in Baytown, the Lady Indians face Region III No. 1 and 5A No. 6 Fort Bend Ridge Point. The time for the match has not been determined.
“Our Cinderella story is still being written,” Bates said. “We are going to have to be very smart on Tuesday. Ridge Point has 15 to 16 solid players.”
Ridge Point comes into the match 22-1 on the season and has 17 shutout wins this season and has scored six or more goals 12 times this season. The Lady Panthers eliminated the Nederland Lady Bulldogs 6-0 Friday.
The Lady Indians (18-6-3) had their own fight on Friday against George Ranch, who Bates said came into the match No. 5 in Region III. PN-G’s first round opponent, New Caney Porter, was No. 3 in the region, and the Lady Indians won that match 5-1.
PN-G and George Ranch were tied 0-0 after regulation and neither team scored in the two overtime sessions.
The Lady Indians went on to prevail 4-2 in the shootout thanks to two saves from sophomore Libbie LeJeune and goals from Bailey Tran, Sophia Brant, Kayla Reed and Atalia Garcia.
“Shootouts are insane and, yes can be nerve-wracking but I think they are fun too,” Bates said. “I felt confident in my team and in Libbie. A lot of it is how you feel about yourselves.”
The decision to go with Garcia was a no-brainer for Bates, even though Garcia is on a limited-use basis since she is not fully healed from a collarbone injury.
“Garcia has done that before for us,” Bates said. “She cannot take full contact, but making penalty kicks is what she does.”
Bates said her team felt no added pressure or worry when it came time for the shootout, even after the PN-G boys team had just a few hours earlier lost to Angleton in the same situation.
“There was no fear at all,” Bates said. “We only got to see the last two penalty kicks during the boys game because we were in the locker room during our mental preparations. Though, I did feel so bad for our boys having to lose that way.”
The Lady Indians and Lady Longhorns battled for so many minutes. There were several times it seemed each team would score the one goal it would have needed to win in regulation or in overtime.
“It was so intense,” Bates said. “There was never a moment when a player could relax. Someone was always on the attack. What I love about this team is they are fighters. I will always love my fighters. If something comes up, this team deals with it and moves on.”

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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