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LEE rallies past Brandeis, clinches first playoff win since 1989

March 30, 2019

For the better part of three decades, the LEE girls soccer program was defined by losing and coaching changes.

But over the past three seasons, the Volunteers transformed the narrative into a feel-good story first and now into one where aspirations and expectations are lofty.

Yet, there was still something missing. Sophomore forward Jenevieve Jackson helped her team find it on Friday.

The Rice commit scored on two long-range goals in the second half as LEE rallied past Brandeis 3-2 in a Class 6A bidistrict contest at Farris Stadium.

It was the Volunteers’ first playoff win since defeating Holmes 5-1 in the Region IV semifinals on April 7, 1989.

“Honestly, I was just trying to go forward and shoot as many times as possible,” Jackson said. “It was just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The same could be said for LEE, which fell on hard times since the heyday of the late 1980s when standouts such as Melinda McClure, Laura Rodriguez, Becky Rodriguez and Kelly Connell led the way.

The Volunteers erased all of that, scoring three unanswered goals to overcome an early 1-0 deficit.

Brandeis, which was hampered by injuries — two-time Super Team forward and Auburn signee Marissa Arias was sidelined with an apparent left knee injury - led 1-0 only 6½ minutes when it appeared a LEE player tried to clear Alexia Murillo’s free kick out of the air and accidentally put it into her own goal.

“I got scared, but I knew my team would pull through,” Jackson said of the early deficit. “I know each and every one of them played their hardest. We deserved that win.”

LEE defender Kameron Kloza started the comeback, putting in a low blast just inside the left post in the 21st minute to tie it at 1-1. Jackson then scored on long-range attempts in the 57th and 78th minutes.

Brandeis pulled within 3-2 with 20 seconds left on goal from Mia Salas, but LEE ran out the rest of the time.

Reagan 2, O’Connor 1: Brynne Jackson and Kate Benne each had a goal as the Rattlers prevailed in a Class 6A first-round contest at Blossom.

Johnson 2, Taft 1: Khori Banks and Presley Drawe each notched second-half goals as the Jaguars rallied from a 1-0 half deficit for the win.

New Braunfels Canyon 1, Austin High 0: At the Burger Center in Austin, Bianca Ruiz’s first-half goal stood up as the Cougarettes advanced.

Boerne Champion 7, Lockhart 0: Kaitlin Moore and Braxten Barkley each scored two goals and assisted on another as the Chargers had little trouble in winning their Class 5A bidistrict encounter.

Mary Claire Stoelzing had a goal and four assists, Erika Wilson had a goal and an assist and Elle Shrader chipped in a goal.

Boys

Reagan 4, Marshall 0: Senior midfielder Michael Morell scored three goals and assisted on another as the Rattlers began defense of their Region IV-6A title with a convincing victory at Farris Stadium.

“It’s like we’ve been waiting for this moment,” Morell said. “We know we’ve played some very good games in district, and we’ve had some mess-ups, but we know in the playoffs your record goes to 0-0-0.”

Morell had a role in three Reagan goals in 5½ minutes early in the second half. He assisted Fabrizio Bernal in the 52nd minute to make it 4-0 and scored twice in 34 seconds — including on a penalty kick — to give his team a 3-0 advantage.

Southside 1, Alamo Heights 0: The Cardinals recorded the game-winner with 15 seconds to earn the triumph in a Class 5A first-round contest.

tthomas@express-news.net

Twitter: @en_terrence