Now entering the rivalry portal … the LASA Raptors
Saturday's girls soccer games prove the Knights have found a worthy district adversary to replace the Trojans after district realignment
February 26, 2023
Every two years, the UIL districts are realigned, and it seems McCallum loses a primary district rival. In girls soccer from 2018-2020, Dripping Springs emerged as a rival, the class of the district and a team McCallum needed to beat to be the best. When the Tigers left the district in 2020, Anderson dropped down to 5A and provided a perfect rivalry game, but the Trojans stay in 5A was brief (from 2020-2022). With the Trojans back in 6A this fall, they remain rivals but are irrelevant to district play.
The longstanding rivalry with Ann Richards in girls sports notwithstanding, it looks like the recently independent LASA is fast becoming the Knights No. 1 rival in girls soccer. Even when LASA athletes played in purple as part of LBJ teams, they were always a tough out for the Knights, even if they were often the underdog.
We offer Saturday morning’s girls soccer games between the two teams as clear evidence the Raptors and Knights have a special rivalry brewing. Many of the players are teammates on clubs or were teammates in middle school, so the game feels a bit like a family feud that each side desperately wants to win.
The games were played with an urgency not often found early on a Saturday morning.
JV KNIGHTS 1, RAPTORS 1 — Defenses up to challenge of all-out offensive attack
In a 9 a.m. opening act at House Park, both JV squads created scoring chances and pushed the action all game long, and both sides found the back of the net … once.
Sophomore striker Satya Russ—in action despite suffering a sprained foot during Friday’s practice—said the game meant more because of the mutual respect between the two sides.
We had good chemistry on the field,” Russ said. “Even though we were missing a lot of players, we played our hardest til the end.”
— sophomore Satya Russ
“The game was a good wakeup call because we had been playing teams not as strong,” she said.
Freshman Imogen Hendrickse said that the Knights played well on Saturday.
“LASA is our biggest rival and considering how tough a game it was, we really stayed in it and worked hard until the last minute,” said Hendrickse, who normally plays center back but shifted to defensive midfielder on Saturday because the Knights were short-handed. “I feel we did very well with our speed of play, aggression, and passing accurately.”
The Knights’ goal certainly provided evidence of the Knights’ proficiency in those three areas.
Russ got the Knights on the board first with a beautiful goal 10 minutes into the game. It started with a miraculous pass from Ava Dallesandro, who—facing the Knight goal at the midfield stripe—flicked a kick over her head which arrived perfectly to Russ, who trapped the ball against her chest then readied for the bouncing ball to settle into her crush zone.
Before that happened, however, a LASA defender pressed up close against her to contest for the ball. Just before the defender could get there, Russ wrapped a blast around her despite the fact that the Raptor prevented Russ from following through on the kick—or seeing where it went.
The shot beat a very talented Raptor keeper, one of two LASA goalies who held the Knights scoreless the rest of the game.
Two minutes later, a Raptor snuck inside the left edge of the Knight goal box and fired a laser that curled away from a diving Mady Siege. Siege may have gotten a fingertip on the near-perfect shot but not enough of a touch to keep it from tying the score at 1.
LASA is our biggest rival and considering how tough a game it was, we really stayed in it and worked hard until the last minute.”
— freshman Imogen Hendrickse
The rest of the game was a flurry of aggression as both teams tried to get a second goal. The defenses, and especially the goalkeepers, were up to the task of squelching all scoring threats.
Siege was stellar, playing both halves although she normally splits the job with Maggie Gravette, who was one of several key players who missed Saturday’s game because they were at VASE.
The Raptor goalies also repelled multiple golden opportunities for the Knights to score.
In the end, the draw did nothing to resolve the rivalry (and everything to establish it), but Hendrickse and Russ take solace in how the team played under the pressure of a big rivalry game.
“We had many shots on goal,” Hendrickse said, “and I think we just need to work on finishing those opportunities and watching our offsides.”
“We had good chemistry on the field,” Russ said. “Even though we were missing a lot of players, we played our hardest til the end.”
The JV Knights are off Wednesday when the varsity plays Eastside because the Panthers don’t have a JV team. These Knights are back on the pitch Friday—playing reptiles again—when they travel to Vandegrift High School for a 4:30 p.m. non-district game against the Vipers.
—with reporting by Priya Thoppil
RAPTORS 1, KNIGHTS 0 — Varsity ends season series with win, draw and loss
In its third match against LASA this season, the varsity girls’ soccer team lost for the first time.
If we just followed up and finished off our chances to score we could’ve brought the score to 2-1.”
— junior Sarah Hauck
Twenty minutes into the first half, the Raptors scored what would turn out to be the game’s only goal.
The Knights kept the pressure up throughout the first half, however, with multiple shots on goal from junior Sarah Hauck.
“I was a lot more aggressive this game, and was putting a lot more out on the line,” Hauck said.
Despite the loss, Hauck says she’s not disappointed in her team’s effort.
“The past games I feel like our intensity wasn’t there,” Hauck said. “Even though we lost, our intensity was there, and we never gave up.”
Hauck also attributes the intensity in this game to the team’s district loss against Ann Richards on Feb. 7 at Ann Richards.
“We are not the team we were last year,” Hauck said. “Our game against Ann Richards has pushed us to be more aggressive. We all have to learn to put in 100%.”
Hauck said the team did exactly that on Saturday even though they didn’t get results from their improved effort.
Even though we lost, our intensity was there, and we never gave up.”
— Sarah Hauck
“We had more shots than our last game against LASA,” Hauck said, “but if we just followed up and finished off our chances to score we could’ve brought the score to 2-1.”
The Knights defeated the Raptors 3-2 at the 2023 Longhorn Challenge High School Soccer Preseason Showcase at UT’s Berry M. Whitaker Sports Complex on Jan. 5, and the two teams played to a scoreless draw in their first district matchup on Jan. 23 at Nelson Field. Unlikely to meet again in 2023, the season series between the Knights and Raptors almost certainly ends with each term earning a win, a loss and a draw.
The varsity Knights are back on the pitch 6 p.m. Wednesday against the Eastside Panthers at Nelson Field. On Saturday, the varsity squares off against Travis at 10:45 a.m. at House Park.