ROUND ROCK — Austin Westlake scored twice in the final 12 minutes to end Robert E. Lee’s soccer season.
Tucker Hume found a way past Lee keeper Austin Martel and a free kick from Walker Hume sealed a 2-0 win Friday in their Class 5A Region II semifinal at Reeves Athletic Complex.
Westlake (24-1-1) advances to face Dallas Jesuit (22-0-2) today in the regional semifinals. It’s a rematch of the 2010 state semifinals when Jesuit beat Westlake 4-0.
As for Lee, the Red Raiders finish their best season in a decade with a 15-7-5 record.
“Actually, there is a lot of disappointment,” said Lee coach Marty Germany, who took over a team that did not make the playoffs last season. “I set a goal at the beginning of the year (to reach state) and we ended up short of that against a good team.”
Westlake outshot Lee 11-5 and had eight corners to two for the Red Raiders. Martel finished with eight saves.
During its playoff run, Lee upset A&M Consolidated and nationally ranked Richardson Berkner, and overcome district rival Longview. The Red Raiders progressed by jumping on those opponents with the first goal and staying in control to finish out victories.
Twelve minutes into the second half of a scoreless game with Westlake, REL looked destined to continue that trend. Senior Jorge Arellano played in behind the defense down the wing with only the goalkeeper to beat.
But Westlake keeper Stefano Frantellizzi was up to the challenge, and at the last moment, was able to extend his arm and get just enough to deflect Arellano’s shot away from goal.
“I was in line with his shot and it was going in,” Germany said of Arellano’s attempt. “Their keeper made a great, great save. We slip that one in and we’re up 1-0 and maybe that is the way the game ends.”
Westlake forward Tucker Hume, listed at 6-5, continued to try and outmuscle Lee’s smaller defenders. He achieved enough space in the first half to get away a shot that was saved by Martel. He then played a pass to teammate Eric Tan, who had a one-time effort that was denied again by Martel.
Lee’s only effort in the first half was from Tanner Tebbetts, who blasted away from a tight angle, but it was easily saved by Frantellizzi to leave the game scoreless at halftime.
REL started better in the second half with an Arellano pass putting Tebbetts behind the defense, but his shot went wide. Arellano’s save kept the game in a stalemate.
But with 12 minutes remaining, Hume settled a ball near the top of the box and carved out enough space to get away a low shot. This time Martel could not stop it with the ball scooting underneath of him.
The Red Raiders pushed up to try and equalize and were forced to foul to prevent a counter attack. Walker Hume, who had a long-range blast hit off the cross bar 10 minutes earlier, swerved a free kick over the wall and past Martel to seal the Westlake win.
“We knew that they were going to come out very, very strong,” said Westlake coach John Campbell. “Our halftime talk wasn’t really about tactics, but our heart. That is what has got us through these games; we’ve outworked people and (did it again).”
This was the first year for Germany as head coach and, despite losing eight seniors to graduation, he is optimistic about the future.
“We actually had six or seven juniors that we left on JV, and we put them there so they could (get more minutes),” Germany said. “We have a lot of underclassmen who are going to step up. Robert E. Lee has established a winning tradition. We expect to contend for the district title and do well in the playoffs.”
RAIDER RAP: Seniors who played their final game were Austin Martel, Tanner Tebbetts, Danny Echeverria, Reed Pool, Jorge Arellano, Robert Hawk, Eddie Esparza and Alexis Chavez.