THE WOODLANDS — College Park has a huge game against its crosstown rival on the horizon later this week. But the Lady Cavaliers had to take care of business at home on Tuesday night first.
College Park did just that, defeating Oak Ridge 3-0 in District 13-6A action.
With the victory, the Lady Cavaliers (9-2-3, 4-0) remained tied atop the standings with No. 7 state-ranked The Woodlands (11-1, 4-0). The teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Lady Highlanders’ home field with sole possession of first place on the line. The Woodlands defeated Conroe, 6-0, on Tuesday night.
“It’s really the same for every game this year,” College Park coach Meredith Cook said. “You have to focus on every single game. Every single game represents an opportunity for it to get away from us. … It’s an excellent, fantastic program on the other side of the ball Friday night. We have to come out and play our best possible game. We have to trust ourselves and play with confidence.”
Oak Ridge (4-4-1, 2-2) is now tied for second place in the standings with Grand Oaks, which defeated Willis, 8-0, on Tuesday. The Lady War Eagles are looking to finish the first round strong as they host the Grizzlies at 7:15 p.m. Friday. That match could go a long way in sorting out playoff seeding.
“We just need to forget about this game,” Oak Ridge coach Miriam Morales said. “We watch film on Wednesdays to see what we need to work on. We work on those things and just prepare for the next game.”
College Park, now riding a five-game winning streak, wanted to set the tone early against Oak Ridge. That plan didn’t exactly come to fruition, but the Lady Cavaliers eventually broke the stalemate.
College Park had a 1-0 lead at halftime following a goal in the 20th minute. Taylor Molina threaded a pass down the field to Carli Rabson, who found some room and fired a frozen-rope shot into the net.
“Our goal was to come out a play our game from the start,” Cook said. “I’m not really sure we achieved that. I felt like we had a hard time getting started, and Oak Ridge did a great job of pressuring hard and coming at us. They definitely had us on our heels. The goal from Carli in the first half was a big help. But I think the key for us is trusting what we do and the way we play — finding feet and possession. I think when we relaxed and fell back to what we’re good at, we were successful.”
College Park took a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute as Ashley Washburn found the back of the net from close range. The Lady Cavaliers made it 3-0 in the 64th minute on a goal from Montse Castillo Mendiburu.
“I think they created more goal-scoring opportunities in the second half,” Cook said. “Oak Ridge’s keeper made some fantastic saves, but you could just tell, we created a lot more opportunities.”
Oak Ridge was missing one of its key players during the second half due to injury. The Lady War Eagles adjusted the best they could, but College Park was able to take advantage.
“I think that first half was a bit better (than the second),” Morales said. “We were just kind of testing to see how the game would go because this is a better College Park team than I’ve seen in all the years that I’ve been here. … One of our starters that plays center-mid has been hurt, so she didn’t play in the second half, and it left a gap in the middle. I had a different plan for that second half, but without her, it was a bit tough. But the rest of the girls worked really hard and simply never gave up.”