As the second half gains steam this week, rest assured that nothing is assured, or at rest. With five matches left in the regular campaign, city soccer sides know that now is the time to get with the program.
From the boys’ angle that includes North, winner of three in a row after a dismal start to 2018, as Coach Elias Moran has the Coogs on a jaunt as of late. Last week they scored six times in beating Vela and P-SJ-A Southwest, the latter result shaking the 31-6A standings at the root.
“Early on, the kids were carrying on their back an unreal responsibility,” said Moran, who rejoined the squad after having resigned at the end of last season’s run to the state final 8. “”Last year’s book has been written, and we are writing a different story now; it’s time to close to close the chapter and write a new one.”
Gradually, the Coogs have gotten their act together, and now have 13 points, tied for fifth with Memorial. The five-game losing streak to start the league slate is a memory.
“We played four good games, we were the better team but tied them all,” Moran explained. “ We unfortunately lost all four on PKs. Always focusing on the positives, learning from our mistakes, that’s what we do, if you fall seven times, you get up eight and you keep moving forward.”
Another city outfit looking solid lately is Edinburg High, which whipped Vela at home Friday, 4-0 for its fifth clear victory in district. At 16 points, the Bobcats are in the thick of the hunt, and if the season ended today would be in the playoffs as No. 3; Pharr North has 14 right now for fourth, with as stated, North and Memorial a point behind.
“We didn’t play that good at times tonight but we came on as it went along,” said EHS Coach Luis Cardenas, whose team is touching, running, and passing with alacrity right now. “We have a lot of tough games left really, so I don’t want to take any team for granted.”
Freshman Emmanuel Duron has been a real contributor lately with his strength and speed, while Angel Roque, Chris Garcia, and Donna North ex Mario Mendoza joined Francisco Hernandez in scoring goals against Vela. The Sabes have had offensive trouble in district, netting just seven goals in nine contests.
Meanwhile, Econ is in a fight for first with Southwest, but lost to Memorial Friday, getting shut out for the first time in nine 31-6A fixtures. There is real balance on the boys’ front, with no fewer than six teams still entertaining hopes of making the grade. The Jags have P-SJ-A Tuesday and then the Coogs Friday; in the first matchup between the rivals, Econ scored a 2-1 triumph on penalty kicks.
NORTH CONTINUES GREAT SEASON
In girls’ action last week, the surprising Lady Coogs kept their winning ways going, following a key result over Vela Tuesday with a 4-1 smash of Southwest three days later. At 23 points, North is right even with Memorial, Vela trailing four digits behind.
The Lady Sabes decimated EHS Friday on the road with some superb team soccer. Ahead just 2-1 late in the first half, the club got a nifty interior feed from sophomore Danya Selber to Taylor Campbell at 0:40, and the fabulous freshman – who netted a hat trick in the first half – lengthened the lead with a sure strike. The team’s second goal had been textbook spacing and ball movement as Ayssa Arevalo hustled onto a loose ball, sailing a long pass diagonally to Odi Leal out left. The elusive fish Leal then fed Campbell for the strike inside at 15:29.
Other highlights from the night included a 35-yard bomb for a goal by the rugged Krys Calvillo and an exquisite header by Dayana Cantu off a set piece opportunity.
The Lady Sabes have Southwest Tuesday and then a crucial test against Memorial Friday, and as they seek to climb out of the three-hole, that clash will be the deciding factor, one imagines.
EHS meanwhile came into Friday in fifth, but fell further behind P-SJ-A with a loss. The absence of midfielder Debhani Rodriguez, who broke her collarbone recently against Econ, has stunted the drive to the playoffs.
“We have really faced some adversity, unplanned, this season,” said Coach Serjio Elizarraraz Friday. “We have a very young team, and we are hoping to find a way to make it this year.”
The Lady Jags are also scrambling for points right now amid a three-game losing skein, capped by a 2-0 loss to Memorial Friday. They have the Lady Bears and North this week, and must earn maximum points to ensure a shot at making a late run.