WESTWOOD – The Westwood Lady Panthers dropped their district home opener Wednesday, 1-0, to the Mexia Lady Black Cats.
A defensive struggle on the field of Westwood High School allowed for few offensive opportunities. The game sat tied at halftime before Mexia's Andreya Rivera scored the lone goal of the game in the waning minutes of the contest.
A strong second half was forfeited on a single play when Mexia was able to get behind the Lady Panthers' defense.
“We can't get stuck playing defense as much as we're doing,” head coach Stan Kowalski said. “It hurts we lost a senior to a surgery. But that's adversity and we have to overcome it. We have to find a way to put the ball in the net.”
Senior Emily Chavez is the senior aforementioned. She's out for the season following gallbladder surgery.
The Lady Panthers spent much of their second half battling to keep the ball out of their net. Though the stats shows three shots on goal for Mexia in the final 40 minutes, there was a stretch Westwood could not get the ball into striking territory.
Cali Widener, who played the entire second half at goalie, finished with two saves. Ashlyn Jones, who assumed those duties during the first half, had six saves on the night.
Regardless of Mexia's nine shots on goal, the Lady Panthers remained aggressive. Even sparking an on-field conflict between Jones and an opposing player.
“It was almost like a football game.” Kowalski said. “But that's the aggressiveness. Our girls aren't going to give an inch and their girls aren't going to give an inch.”
Instead of letting frustration overwhelm them Westwood placed themselves in position to score. Jones rocketed down the left side of the field and passed it to Sheyla Rodriguez.
With the ball finally in scoring distance the Lady Panthers had a couple opportunities to tie the game up. The closest being a shot that edged past the right bar out-of-bounds.
“It's a long season, so hopefully we get [Mexia] second round,” Kowalski said. “This game hurt. We can't let up for a second. We can't have lapses. But we'll grow from this. We'll watch the film and go try to take care of business at Madisonville.”
The Lady Panthers travel to Madisonville tonight before returning home against Palestine Tuesday.