By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
There was zero suspense involved in Navarro’s 9-0 victory over Paris in Thursday’s Region XIV semifinal match at the Navarro Soccer Fields.
Now the mystery begins.
The Bulldogs face a three-game stretch that could end with them clinching a berth in the NJCAA national tournament in Melbourne, Fla next month.
First up — the Region XIV championship game, almost certainly against Tyler at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the Rose City. Tyler plays heavy underdog Northeast on Friday.
Win or lose in the regional title game — and the Lady Bulldogs certainly want to beat the rival Lady Apaches — Navarro clinched a berth in the District E Tournament on Nov. 3 with Thursday’s win. Navarro will host the tournament to get to nationals with a win Sunday.
Navarro (14-1-2) has split the two games against the Lady Apaches, winning 3-1 in Corsicana and losing 2-0 in Tyler. Navarro started the game in Tyler slowly, and the partisan home fans seemed to spur on the Lady Apaches.
Navarro hopes for more fan support this time. But it’s the players that have to play hard and play mistake-free.
“They have to come to play,” Navarro assistant coach Aric Bonner said of Sunday’s showdown with Tyler. “Bottom line, if they don’t, it will not be a good result. Tyler will be motivated.”
Thursday’s game was a nice tuneup for Sunday. Navarro scored five goals in the first half, netting them in a variety of ways, and freshman Joanna Nigro scored twice in the second half to complete a hat trick.
German midfielder Judith Bast tallied the first goal, a thundering shot from about 25 yards out that was assisted by Gigi PIckersgill and Kayla Evans for a 1-0 lead at the 30:08 mark of the first half.
Navarro waited another 17 minutes to score again before going on a four-goal outburst in the final 13:46 of the first half.
Nugene Nugent started things, taking a pass from Naialani Garcia, then dribbling through three defenders and punching in her shot for a 2-0 lead. Next came a goal from Nigro on an assist from Jodian Morris with 11:15 left in the first half for a 3-0 lead.
Navarro scored next on a set piece as Kayla Ward scored off a corner kick by Rachel Heilckert for a 4-0 lead with 4:48 left before halftime. Ward scored again off a rebound on a shot by Morris.
Navarro scored early in the second half as Nugent scored on an assist from Nigro for a 6-0 lead. Garcia notched her first goal on an assist from Bast for a 7-0 lead.
Nigro then scored the last two goals for her hat trick. She scored on an assist from Nugent to make it 8-0 with 23:47 left.
Nigro put in the last goal of the match with 26 second left on an assist from Pickersgill.
It finished off a routine victory for the Lady Bulldogs, who brace themselves now for the most important eight days of the season.