Strong defense advances Highlanders past Lake Travis
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Coach Hans Kleinschmidt looked like a man who had survived a tsunami after watching The Woodlands Highlanders defeat the Lake Travis Cavaliers in the second round of the Region II-5A boys’ soccer playoffs Thursday night.
Despite being outplayed for most of the match, the Highlanders walked away from College Station High School with a 2-0 victory.
The Highlanders, 20-0-1, will play in the Regional Quarterfinals against the winner of McNeil-Klein Collins on Tuesday.
Lake Travis, which tied The Woodlands 0-0 at the Governor’s Cup in January, ended the season 13-6-5. The Cavaliers finished second in District 15-5A.
“In playoff soccer, it is not always pretty,’’ Kleinschmidt told his team after the match. “But we made the most of our chances. This time of year, you just have to survive and advance.’’
Lake Travis was the more aggressive team right from the start as the Cavaliers peppered The Woodlands goalie Simon Boehme with shot after shot. But the tall-and-talented keeper came up big time after time. He twice tipped away potential goals with all-out dives just in front of the net.
“Simon had a good game,’’ Kleinschmidt said. “Hopefully, he can continue and we can put together another playoff run.’’
The Woodlands has qualified for the regional tournament in seven of the past eight seasons. But Lake Travis looked determined to put an end to that on Thursday night.
Dylan Tracy, who played a fabulous all-around game, rifled a left-footed shot from 15 yards that sailed just wide of the net of the 32:10 mark of the first half.
A couple minutes later, Blake Bernhausen made one of the biggest saves of the match when Boehme went out to contest a shot, but was juked by Jack King. King then unloaded from point blank range only to watch Bernhausen make a left-footed kick save to send the ball over the net.
“This was a totally different game then we had in January,’’ Kleinschmidt said of the previous 0-0 tie. “We only had 13-14 shots total in January. I think we doubled that tonight.’’
The Woodlands’ star forward Primo Covarrubias blasted a free kick that hit the goalpost above the soccer goal with 29:24 left in the first half. But he wouldn’t miss his next chance.
With 16:05 left in the first half, Covarrubias took a pass from Bubacarr Jobe, muscled his way around a Lake Travis defender and whipped a left-footed shot across his body into the right corner of the net to give the Highlanders a 1-0 lead.
“We played a good first half,’’ Kleinschmidt said.
The second half was dominated by Lake Travis. But each time the Cavaliers looked like they were going to tie the match, Boehme came up big in between the pipes.
“They dominated the game for 35 minutes (of the second half),’’ admitted Kleinschmidt. “They were just so fast.’’
Jobe put away the contest when he scored with 14:17 to play. The junior forward, who now has four goals in two playoff matches, stopped as he approached the net, faked a left-footed kick and belted a right-footer into the net.
The match was played in wind gusts of 25 miles per hour. The Woodlands, which is ranked No. 1 in the state, had the wind at its back in the first half, while Lake Travis had it in the second.
“The wind may have been a factor,’’ Kleinschmidt said. “They dominated (on offense) for much of the game. But for us to survive against that kind of barrage says a lot about our team.’’