Econ has gotten it going, much to the distress of the gang in District 31-6A.
The Jags posted their fourth positive football result in a row Friday, winning 1-nil at Vela against a SaberCat team that has lost five one-goal decisions in the league. Coach Sam Gonzalez was impressed with the Vela effort in the first half, saying that the Orange were fortunate to be up.
The lead came courtesy of a bit of set-piece magic when Orly Rodriguez lobbed a corner kick into the box for the head of Lucatero Evelardo, the springy defender who has made a living on such plays this season. The lanky senior eclipsed the defense and found the net with just 2:46 left in the half.
From there the Jags showed their quality in the final 40 minutes, Rodriguez handling and befuddling with style in the midfield and any number of Econ guys passing and running, playing the touch game with expertise.
Vela refused to yield, giving the visitor headaches throughout, but when the match was in the balance, defender Edwin Galicia and his mates were on the job. Earning a series of free kicks, the Sabes came onward, but keeper Bryan Amaya of Econ kept the clean sheet intact. Another force in the Econ back was left-back Danny Segoviano, who played hard and well while veteran leader Chris Garcia again appeared to be in many places at once.
The difference in this one was the pace and handles of the Jags, who are now on 18 points heading into the stretch run, just behind Donna North (20). Tuesday is the day, as Donna North comes to town for a match that will be dynamite, assuredly. But it doesn’t get any easier for Econ after that, with EHS and North still to come, sandwiching a tilt against a tricky Weslaco Eastside that defeated Donna North earlier in the league slog.
EHS has 13 points after a penalty kicks win over East Friday, and stands a point ahead of North, which was blasted by Donna North, 4-2. Those two city chums go at it Tuesday in what is the night of nights in 31-6A.
GARCIA HOPEFUL FOR FUTURE OF LADY JAGS
They aren’t very deep this season, and the lineup includes many girls who had very little, if any, varsity experience heading into 2020. They took their lumps for a while but the Lady Jags are starting to come around.
Prior to Friday’s loss at Vela, Econ had performed fairly well in one-goal losses to Weslaco East and Edinburg North and followed this up with its district-high scoring night in a 4-3 victory over Weslaco. On four points as Friday loomed, the Lady Jags had climbed out of the 31-6A basement.
“It’s been pretty tough, we’ve had some injuries, especially at goalie,” said Coach Robert Garcia. “But I think we have been starting to get there. If we keep this group together, we could be pretty tough next year. We do have just about everyone back for next time, so that’s a good sign.”
Econ did what it had not wanted to do against Vela, surrendering a goal in the first three minutes off a “Ya Ya” Carrillo cross that was tapped in by Odessa Leal. But the Lady Jags, with bowling ball Maria Rocha pounding her way forward, found some footing. In the back, Reyna Vazquez continued her inspiring play while Yami Medellin looked for opportunities upfield. Andrea Reyes is a tough cookie with a strong leg.
Midway through the half, the Lady Sabes – tied for first with Donna North – made it 2-0 on a rocket from Taylor Campbell. Econ held on at the two-goal deficit and looked to be in decent shape; Rocha collided with keeper Ashley de la Cruz, knocking the former out of the match, and the Lady Jags were scratching and clawing to stay afloat.
However, in the last six minutes of the half, Campbell and Leal tallied again, the latter with just 12 seconds left, dealing the death blow of an eventual 6-1 decision.
“We can be good at times, but we are inconsistent,” said Garcia, who did get to celebrate a goal when Fioreli Torres punched one home in the match.
NOTES: The Econ boys are ranked eighth in the Valley by the RGV Coaches Organization with North ninth, while Vela (fifth) and EHS (eighth) are in the girls’ top 10. Donna North is sixth in the girls’ poll and fourth in the boys’ list.