ENNIS — Robert E. Lee senior forward Collin Berry had a good night.
The only obstacle that stood in the way of Berry having a great night was Killeen Ellison goalkeeper Ryan Blas. Three times in the second half Blas denied Berry on clear goal-scoring chances.
Two goals will have to do for Berry, and a 4-0 victory in the Class 6A bi-district playoffs on Friday at Lion Memorial Stadium suits the Red Raiders just fine as REL moves on in the boys soccer playoffs.
Lee (18-3-2) advances to face North Mesquite in the area round next week.
In the first game of Lee's soccer playoff doubleheader, the Lady Raiders were overwhelmed with five second-half goals from Waco Midway in a 7-0 loss.
RED RAIDERS 4, ELLISON 0
Berry scored the first goal of the match at the 25-minute mark of the first half and was followed by goals from teammates Geroham Gonzalez and Luis Carrillo to give Lee a 3-0 halftime lead.
Berry was back in business with his second goal early in the second half off a pass from Eric Munoz for the brace. Three separate times afterward he had a chance for the third, but on all three Blas was just a step quicker.
"That was disappointing (not to get the third one)," Berry said. "But I think we are headed far into the playoffs. I think we are headed all the way, honestly."
Robert E. Lee was employing its accustomed possession-based offense in the first half. But sometimes all you need to score is a player willing to try his luck from distance.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, Geroham Gonzalez stole possession and unleashed a rocket from 25 yards out that surprised everyone — no one more than Blas, whose diving attempt could not prevent it from crashing into the back of the net.
A minute later, Luis Carrillo decided he would have a try from 30 yards away and again the shot eluded Blas.
"Both of those second and third goals, I was in my mind going ‘What are you doing? Oh. OK, never mind,'" Lee coach Marty Germany said. "But they put both on target and that is what we felt that if we put our shots on goal (we could have success against this team)."
Berry's first goal came off a deflection from a crossing ball back into the box from the wing by Carrillo. His intended target scuffed the one-time shot, but the deflection came straight to Berry, who did not miss.
Lee keeper Daniel Abarca was a virtual spectator for most of the match, until a late giveaway by the Red Raiders forced him into action. Ellison freshman Marcus Eiland had a one-on-one with Abarca, but the senior keeper made a kick save to preserve the clean sheet.
WACO MIDWAY 7, LADY RAIDERS 0
Lee goalkeeper Lauren Nichols was under siege for nearly the entire Lady Raiders bi-district match with Midway, producing double-digit saves.
But seven got past her.
Midway's Maddie Owen scored twice in the first half with Audrey Johnston notching a second-half hat trick.
Lee trailed 1-0 until the final two minutes of the half.
Prior to Owen's second goal, Adrianna Perez had a shot that went straight to the keeper and Kourtney Hitchcock cut back against the defense for a shot, but it was also straight to Midway's keeper.
Lee did not have a shot on goal in the second half.
"It was just disappointing," Lee coach Chris Woodard said. "We have had some good games this year and others where we didn't look too hot. Tonight was one of those and it was unfortunate. We never really got much going.
"But at least we made some steps this year to getting back in the direction to where we used to be and we're not losing very many people, so that is good too."
The Lady Raiders say goodbye to seniors Adrianna Perez, Hailey Hurst and Victoria Frost and finish their season at 13-8-1.