Dave Winkleman isn’t quite sure what to do with himself now.
In recent years the coach of the Granbury Lady Pirates soccer team has spent this time preparing for a playoff game.
And another, and another…
But not this season.
After back-to-back deep postseason runs, the Lady Pirates’ season ended Tuesday with a 1-1 tie against visiting arch rival Cleburne.
There are no playoffs to prepare for. Granbury finished 8-14-3 overall and 2-6-2 in District 15-4A, thanks largely to injuries and missed opportunities.
They lost several close games, and had trouble keeping a full roster due to one injury after another getting in the way.
But they finished strong. Cleburne is a playoff team, and in the previous contest the Lady Pirates had one of their best offensive outings in some time, blasting Alvarado 7-0.
“I hope we can build from this finish,” said Winkleman. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to win close games.
“A win and a tie was the difference (from making the playoffs). Three more points was what we needed. If we beat Cleburne over there, that would have been big.”
The top four teams in district advanced to the playoffs. The Lady Pirates finished fifth.
Granbury had won its district in 2011 and 2012. The first title, the first in team history, was followed by going four rounds deep in the playoffs. Last year they went three rounds deep.
At one point this season the Lady Pirates were 6-3-1 and appeared on their way to challenging for another league title. Then, injuries and miscues took their toll.
Tuesday’s goal was scored by Mallory Bersi, one of only four seniors on the team. She was assisted by Maggie Kirby, who was tripped and set up a penalty kick.
“That was a nice way for Mallory to go out,” said Winkleman.
Bersi had missed much of the season with an injury.
Her goal came midway through the second half after Cleburne had taken the lead five minutes earlier.
Tuesday was also Senior Night at Pirate Stadium. The four seniors on the Lady Pirates, Bersi, Aubrey Caudle, Caitlyn Winkleman and goalkeeper Kim Bantz, all started in their final game.
“Kim had a good game. She stopped two really good shots, one by laying out and one that was a high ball,” said Winkleman.
“One thing about this team, they gave everything they had. I hope those coming back can use this experience as motivation for next season. None of them want to be back here.”
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Cleburne 0 1 – 1
Granbury 0 1 – 1
Granbury goal (assist) – Mallory Bersi (PK, Maggie Kirby).
Granbury record – 8-14-3, 2-6-2 in 15-4A.