SPEECHLESS as Hawks Beat Progreso, 1-0 for Berth in Final 4
Canyon Lake will now embark on a trek that has not happened since the school opened their doors to students back in 2008, as they are now playing in the Final Four, after taking down Progreso, 1-0 in the Regional Final contest in McAllen on Saturday.
Two years ago, The Lake’s Boys Soccer team, had already made a similar trek when they reached the Regional Semi-Final contest that came up short, 2-1 to this same Red Ant school. In that contest the score was tied when Progreso would win the game with that same situation, a Penalty Kick inside the box that gave them that hard fought battle. This still had CL with their longest playoff stint for any sport.
This year Canyon Lake had made it one round further and once again, was able to exact that same ending, to Progreso and that will bound these two Hawk teams that have helped make a name for our community, as CL will now be in action this Wednesday for their first game against Midlothian Heritage in Georgetown,
This will be classified as the 63rd game in this 62 team UIL playoff system and now a chance of playing that final game for all those marbles and being two of the last 4A schools, in this great State of Texas.
The Hawks had not been a stalwart team for much of their existence, but to be fair, Canyon Lake during their beginning were playing against established 5A-4A schools in district, as their were not many 3A schools playing during that time period. That scenario would be a part of CL’s schedule for those first 5 years as a Soccer team. *Note, Canyon Lake started sports as a 3A school and that class of school was changed during the 2014-2015 year to show 4A instead of 3A.
Playing larger schools had played a distinct disadvantage and wins would be hard to come by while playing, where the size of a school were not even until 2015. This year’s senior class of players were 8th graders when that playing field was evened for all those smaller soccer schools.
So losses happened with regularity and in some cases just scoring a goal could be counted as a victory. They scored just 3 goals during that 2013 season and went without a goal in 11 straight games.
Canyon Lake has now won 11 of their last 12 games and presently have a 7 game winning streak with all but one playoff contest, as an underdog.
A dramatic team would be another characteristic during this post-season, as 4 of these battles, have had a Hawk goal with 6 or less minutes left on the clock that would help in deciding a battle.
UIL Playoffs Game Hawk Player Time Left Score 1st Round: Lampasas Joshua Sczech with 5:02 left, 3-2 3rd Round: AME Matt Bell with 2:37 left, 3-3 Won in Shoot-Out 4th Round: Gonzales Joshua Sczech with 0:00 left, 2-1 5th Round: Progreso Trenton Lorett with 6:03 left, 1-0 Penalty Kick
Progreso was a team that controlled the possessions more than any other playoff team up to this point and the good news? Not giving up a quick goal, as this game would be tied going into halftime, 0-0.
“Perseverance, fight and pride comes to mind,” Head Coach Ryan Tierney stated when asked what he was thinking after this win. “This is great for our program and our players for everything we are.”
“We packed it tight and weathered the storm and sometimes you just have to park your bus,” Coach Tierney said while talking about those last few minutes of play and how well CL’s defense arose to the occasion. “We are blessed and lucky but that is just the way the ball bounces and it bounced right for us today.”
Canyon Lake’s defense has been on, for this whole season, and this game would prove just how important that part of this Hawk’s game shined.
Andrew Pipkin was one of those defenders that had his shadow on any Red Ant that would come towards the Hawk’s net.
“It was crazy as we were running out of steam because of the heat and they kept attacking but we just kept it up,” Pipkin said. “We have been working so hard all season and we did not want it to end!”
There has been just two games, Canyon Lake, has allowed more than 2 goals in a game. A loss to Austin McCallum and in that mind blowing come-back win over Austin Eastside Memorial. That AEM contest had the most goals scored on The Lake, when those Panthers reached 4 goals with their final score during that second overtime period.
A hot day would get hotter as this game started at Noon. Coming out of their halftime break, the temperature would continue to climb. The Officials would stop play at the 20 minute mark having water for all those participants during this battle.
“My feet hurt and this had become a mind game with the heat,” Goal Keeper Shawn Bell rang. “That makes things harder but the heat did not change how we would drive of our team.”
Shawn Bell continued recalling both team’s defense’s, “I was just hoping and I kept marking up on their offense and they were keeping us from scoring too, just like I did.”
Progreso was still the more aggressive team as this game continued but the Hawks would have their chances but there would still be no success for either school.
The Hawks found themselves with a scoring opportunity, as their try on goal was not scored, but the Red Ants defense would kick the ball out of play allowing a sideline throw in by Matt Bell.
Matt Bell has been nails on his throw ins and this had Nash Young and Trenton Lorett both in the box with a lot of red ants and then a Red Flag was assessed, after the Hawk header just missed above the net. There must have been some red ants that bit a Hawk with one Red Ant touching the ball for the penalty kick.
That Progreso penalty would be the eventual downfall for these ants after a Lorett kick and Hawk lead, 1-0, with 6:03 left to play.
“Honestly….on the penalty kick, I just slowed myself down and I was laughing when I got the ball and placed it and then it started rolling away. (The wind was gusting at this time of the game) Their goalie was wanting me to hurry up and kick it, but I just took my time….that was the biggest…I just could not let them change the way we play,” Lorett said in recounting that final goal.
That sense of urgency had just gone ballistic for these Red Ants and they were swarming and pressing as each minute passed to that game clock reaching the proverbial end of the game, 0:00.
A stunned Progreso squad was evident as the crowd for Canyon Lake started chanting, ‘Georgetown!!!, Georgetown!!!’
As that will be the next stop for this Hawk Soccer Tour in hopes of that ultimate prize.
“Speechless,” Lorett said when asked his thoughts on what had just happened. “As this is all coming from a sport that is new to Canyon Lake and …..This is Just Amazing!!”
“This feels good,” Shawn Bell rang out. “This feels, really, really, really, good.”
“Having a lot of fun,” Coach Tierney said with a smile a mile long. “This is what you work for and now all that hard work is paying off.”