HIGH SHCOOL SOCCER

Strong second half propels Round Rock past Oak Ridge

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GIDDINGS - Most coaches would be happy to go into the halftime locker room with a 1-0 lead and an otherwise lopsided performance.

Round Rock girls' soccer coach Chad Aldrich isn't like most coaches, but whatever he said and however he said it must've stuck.

The Lady Dragons scored three goals in a span of fewer than 10 minutes in the second half on Tuesday night to beat Oak Ridge 4-0 in the area round of the playoffs and advance to the Regional Quarterfinals where they will face The Woodlands.

"We are our worst enemy and weren't playing the way we should," Aldrich said. "(Oak Ridge) did a good job trying to contain us. We wanted to move into space and play to space and want the ball.

"The girls came out at halftime actually wanting to play the game the way Rock plays it, and they played it beautifully."

Sydnie Myers scored two goals, one in each half. Hannah Ager had a goal and an assist in the win while Alycia Buenaventura finished with a goal.

The Lady Dragons needed overtime to beat Tomball Memorial 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs last week.

Myers got the scoring started 10 minutes in when she received a free kick from Ager, spun and shot from just inside the penalty area.

Round Rock piled on the pressure in the second half, and Ager finally broke through with a 25-yard rocket 20 minutes after halftime. Myers scored her second goal with a header off a corner kick.

Buenaventura poked in the rebound of a rebound of a rebound for the fourth and final of the night.

"We didn't really get the momentum in the first half, but once the second half came around, we started talking about what we needed to change and passed it around a lot more," Ager said. "We got going and finally put some in the back of the net."

District 13-6A is arguably one of the toughest in the state when it comes to girls' soccer, and the Lady Dragons and state-ranked Vandegrift batted twice, with the Lady Vipers handing Round Rock it's only district loss of the season.

Now, with the win-or-go-home reality of the playoffs, it's those difficult and intense moments that the Lady Dragons are leaning on the most.

"You want to win as much as you can but I think losing and the adversity that comes with it makes us much stronger as a team," Ager said.

The Woodlands, champions of the same District 15-6A Oak Ridge finished fourth in, beat Hendrickson 1-0 on Tuesday night. The Lady Highlanders have made it at least four round deep two years in a row.

"You focus one half at a time, but it's not just about one game," Aldrich said. "If we want to make the run we want to have, we need to play at a higher level. We weren't playing at that level in the first half. The goal was to come out that passion and fire in the second and we did."

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