ANNA — Let the record show: The Korey Olvera Era of Lady Coyotes soccer is off to a fantastic start. In her first game as a high school head coach, Olvera led Anna to a 5-0 rout of North Lamar’s Pantherettes at Coyote Stadium on Thursday, Jan. 4, in frosty 38-degree conditions.
“I told them to win every 50-50 ball,” Olvera said. “That’s something we’ve been struggling with and they did it. They were playing hard, working well together and playing well possession-wise. We tried to change it up a little bit in the second half by playing more through-balls, (attack-passes through gaps between two defenders.) … We do have some things we need to improve on, which I told them about. But I’m really pleased with this turnout. I was impressed with how they kicked it off.”
Notable too was the fact that Olvera’s squad hadn’t even gotten to test the icicles with a scrimmage this year, as their scheduled meeting with Denison on Jan. 2 was cancelled due to the cold. This match with North Lamar was these Lady Coyotes’ first action against any opponent.
Highlighting Anna’s big night was junior forward Abi Cisneros’ three-goal performance, with her first score coming in the match’s first two minutes. “That was awesome,” Olvera said of Cisneros’ hat-trick. “I’m so excited for her because she was dying to play. She just came back from an injury. I’m really happy for her.”
A good crowd of vocal, enthusiastic Anna fans was on hand, braving the elements.
No scoreboard clock was available this night as the stadium is undergoing massive renovation and much of the facility’s electricity had been shut off. The entire west side of the stadium, including the press box, was fenced off from use.
Cisneros’ first goal came after a nice cross-pass from Angelica Armijo. Her second score found home minutes later after a Kaitlynn Perry shot bounced off the Pantherette goalie to Cisneros. The score remained 2-0 for the rest of the period with most all of it played in North Lamar’s end of the field.
So how did it feel to get that quick two-goal lead? “It was such a relief,” Olvera said. “I was so nervous. Right before the game, it was like when I was playing. I want these girls to win so bad. I hate losing. When we scored I was like, ‘OK, you can relax a little bit.’ But I was still kind of tense.”
Cisneros quickly picked up her third goal as the second period got underway. Then, nine minutes in, Krista Valdez sent Anna’s lead to 4-0 with a nearly straight-on shot from 20 yards out. The Lady Coyotes’ fifth score came on a free kick by Lauren Schlicht from 25 yards out with eight minutes left to play — a crazy shot that bounced twice before lazily finding the left side of the net as North Lamar’s goalkeeper watched. “It shouldn’t have bounced that many times,” Olvera said. “Someone should’ve gotten on to that way before that. I think the goalie thought it was going out so she called it out, but it went in. I think Lauren was just as surprised as everybody else.”
With perhaps a minute remaining, senior goalkeeper Khasity Littleton — in for sophomore starter Kaitlyn Long — posted a big save in the top-left corner of the goal to preserve Anna’s shutout. “Khasity has a lot to work on,” Olvera said, “but that save she got at the end, I was so impressed with her.”
Long remained on the field as a forward after leaving the net midway through the second period. “When Kaitlyn was in goal, she didn’t have very much action,” Olvera noted. “They had maybe one good opportunity, and the girl shot from really far out so she had time to get it.”
At least two Lady Coyotes went to the ground with leg cramps as the match wore on in the bracing chill.