WESLACO – Every side knows who its leaders are, its stars, and then the next step is to develop the supporting cast, a vital group of athletes who can aid in the effort, doing what they do and making sure that the frontliners don’t have to carry the load themselves.
As its District 31-6A season began Tuesday at East, the Lady Bobcats got a very good glimpse at the group that will supplement the excellence of versatile Titi Munoz and laser-focused forward Leah Sanchez, a look at some folks who will help defender Melo Munoz and keeper Kristen Salinas in the program quest to contend for a title in 2020.
As EHS defeated the Lady Wildcats, 2-0, scoring a goal in each half, several girls in red and blue made their statement. Among them was fullback Daniela Toscano, who has been an attacker in the past but seems comfortable at right-back. She boomed a number of terrific balls into the attacking third, clearing away East chances with a dribble or two and then a pound downfield.
On the left side, Jackie Oyervides was also very solid, taking the space and creating opportunities past the midline. The team also got credible minutes from freshman left back Kayla Abrego, who stepped in after some injury woes in back and showed a fearlessness to go with her impressive physical strength. And finally, there was Kaylie Rawlings, the lanky cross country gal, who was in the right place at the right time, on the post, to turn away East’s best chance of the night with some defensive quickness.
All in all, it looks like EHS will be a strong horse in the race, and Tuesday its passing and movement were sharp, its shot production consistent, and its defense sound save for a few iffy moments off set pieces. Twice the Lady Wildcats sent balls into the box, and on each occasion the ball caromed here and there until either Salinas or a defender could wrestle it out of there.
Nonetheless, EHS was by far the superior side with sophomore Kathia Castillo completing a nice linkup started by Oyervides, who fielded Abby Martinez’ free-kick and sent it down the pitch. Castillo eventually created for Sanchez, who slotted home with 15 minutes left in the first half. That sort of touch-touch style worked up both sidelines consistently, with Titi Munoz and Sanchez flying like hungry hawks on the hunt for some dinner.
Though they dominated for 80 minutes, the Lady ‘Cats got a wakeup call with just 15 minutes to go in the night as East came perilously close to the equalizer on a corner kick. But Rawlings – whose father is, of course, a long-time athletic trainer at the school – made her moment count, and like a flash, Sanchez dashed nearly 70 yards with the ball, putting it in the opposing net to complete a masterful counter for the 2-0 final scoreline.
Coach Cerjio Elizararraz knew his club needed to take care of business against a Lady Wildcat bunch that doesn’t figure to factor much in the race this season, especially because a match against two-time defending champ North lay on the Friday horizon. The Lady Cougars, who started the run with a victory at Vela, were clipped at home by Donna North Tuesday, making the Friday collision all the more compelling. The Lady SaberCats, meanwhile, rebounded from the dispiriting North result to handle Econ Tuesday, 6-1 and then hosted Weslaco Friday.
NOTES: The Lady Bobcats slugged out the win against North, 1-0, while Vela obliterated Weslaco, 9-1. Junior Taylor Campbell of the Lady Sabes tallied twice to give her an astounding 101 goals through two-plus seasons. Donna North kept hold of the top of the table by walloping Econ, 9-1.