COLLEGE STATION — Bay City pushed and pushed on Friday, but it wasn’t enough.
The Lady Cats outshot Salado and had the majority of possession in Friday’s Class 4A regional final, but up against a stingy Eagles defense, they had a hard time creating chances, and Bay City’s historic playoff run ended with a 1-0 loss.
“Salado has a stingy defense,” said Bay City head coach Darin Dabelgott. “They haven’t given up many goals to anyone this year and they’re a state contender. They’ve played the top competition and competed against them, and it’s just a really good team.”
Salado got an early goal in the 15th minute at Cobra Stadium at College Station High School, as Holly Wright muscled past a Bay City defender and shot a ball over Bay City keeper Iris DeWitt’s head and into the back of the net.
After that the Eagles sat back and invited pressure from the Lady Cats, happy to play on the counter attack and defend their lead.
Bay City was unable to create much in the first half, but that changed in the second half as two quick chances quickly changed the momentum of the game in Bay City’s favor.
“No one likes to lose, and no one ever wants to end on a bad note,” Dabelgott said. “But I am just super proud of these girls and the stuff they did this season. They set all kinds of records, and it’s the furthest we have ever been. They do everything so well and made soccer fun.”
The Lady Cats kept searching for that elusive tying goal, but it would never come, despite the team creating opportunities.
“We just couldn’t get that goal,” said Bay City senior Valeria Rubio. “But it doesn’t matter. I’m still so proud of this team. We broke records. We went the furthest anyone in our district has ever gone. It’s going to be hard to top this, but everyone below us has potential, and I know they’re going to be able to get here and be able to do it.”
Bay City will graduate 15 seniors from the team.
“It was amazing to coach them,” Dabelgott said. “This was our only loss, and the program did great this year. That’s all due to the senior leadership we had. It’s gonna be tough not having those girls. They left everything on the field. I can’t be upset about that. We did the best we could and came up short today, but we’ll be back.”
Having so many seniors on the team led to the graduating class having a special bond.
“As a class, a lot of us played club together and really grew up together,” Rubio said. “We had each others backs, and we knew everything that was going on in each other’s’ lives. This class had so many great people, and I know we’re going to do big things in our future. I’m happy and proud that we were able to make it this far.”
Rubio left the younger players on the team with a parting message.
“Chase your dreams and never give up,” she said. “If you want it, you can get it, as long as there’s time on that clock, you got it.”