Lonestar SC WPSL takes on TTi Bluebonnets this weekend in the WPSL Southwest Conference Finals at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex. After finishing first place in the regular season with a record of 9-2-1, Lonestar eliminated FC Dallas 2-0 (article & highlights link) in the semifinals before squaring off against TTi Bluebonnets of Houston for the WPSL Southwest Conference Championship in Frisco, Texas. Due to severe weather and lightning, the match was abandoned after 32 minutes, with the teams retreating their respective locker rooms to wait out the storm. Unfortunately the chance to get back on the field never came, as the storm worsened over the next 2 hours.
As a result, the decision to resume the match was abandoned, and rescheduled to this Saturday at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex at 6:30pm. The match will resume play where the teams left off - in the 32nd minute with Lonestar leading 1-0.
As the match against TTi got underway, Lonestar felt the pressure early with solid link up play from TTi’s attack, but the Lonestar defense held firm. Standout rookie goalkeeper Haleigh Heath (Abilene Christian/98-99 ECNL Composite) yet again proved invaluable after a stellar performance in her WPSL debut, coming out to meet the ensuing attacker and making a point blank save at the top of the box to keep it scoreless.
After being under relentless pressure in the first 15 minutes, Lonestar managed to find the net with a quick counter attack started by Jackie Pope, who held the ball up to find a through ball for Nia Stallings (Rice/96G ECNL). Nia’s fine work on the wings to evade defenders turned into a well-placed cross for Natalie Anderson (U19 DA), who dispatched Lonestar’s best chance in the back of the net with ease.
“We are looking forward to the match this weekend and having our community behind us. TTI are a good side with talented players. The fact the Lonestar and TTI are in the finals of our conference illustrates the strength of our division. I believe everyone involved is extremely excited about the season and the success we have found in year one.
The future of the Lonestar SC WPSL is exciting. We are already planning for next year and want to continue to make it better and better each season - for not only the players, but also the soccer community in Austin. Lonestar leads the market in Austin and we have the responsibility to provide the best product possible and constantly improve the standards expected of a nationally recognized soccer club. We will continue to build our Lonestar SC WPSL team from current Lonestar SC youth players, Lonestar SC alumni and Lonestar SC staff members. As one of our goals all along was to provide a pathway for a senior level of play for Lonestar affiliates only. Through this mission we have proved we have the depth internally to compete with the best within the WPSL.”
-Wes Schevers, Head Coach and Lonestar NLP Girls Director
The opportunity to make up the game at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex means a strong home crowd advantage, with matches averaging around 200 fans per game at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex. Lonestar WPSL forward and current Lonestar SC coach Jackie Pope was quick to give plaudits to the fans who supported the team throughout the season:
“Not only are the fans the most important thing when it comes to the atmosphere of playing in a championship game, but the opponent that we're playing is very good. It's important that we make this a hard atmosphere for them to play in so that they don't feel comfortable.
I think it's very important that the Lonestar families and young players come out and support our Lonestar WPSL team this weekend so that they can see the opportunities that lie ahead of them. You have our college players playing at top levels, former professional players that are now coaching within the club, as well as current Lonestar youth players contributing. It gives you the inspiration and drive to be able to want to play at this level when you become a Lonestar alumni.”
- Jackie Pope, WPSL Player and Lonestar Head Coach
Tickets for Saturday’s game start at $8 online, and $10 at the door. As always, kids 18 & under have free admission to the game! Join us at 6:30pm for food, music, and giveaways including merchandise and 2018 season ticket passes before the 7pm kickoff.
Lonestar SC will be donating 50% of ticket sales to the Austin Angels, whose mission is to walk alongside foster children and their caretakers by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building and mentorship. Visit https://austinangels.com for more information.