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It is not often that a school in its first season of athletic play is able to set the standard for subsequent teams down the road but that is what the 2009 Juarez-Lincoln girls did when they reached the regional quarterfinals of the state tournament.
That special team benefited from having some of the best players from La Joya the year before. That experience helped the Lady Huskies take down Edcouch-Elsa and Veterans Memorial before losing to Beeville Jones.
Alexandro Davila coached the team then as well as now and feels this year’s 2012 squad has the potential to go just as far.
“I am not going to say it will be a disappointment, but it will feel that we fell short of what we think and believe we can do,” explained Davila if his team does not make it at least three rounds deep. “It is a group that has been together for the past four years. They have been playing together since they were freshmen.”
Much of that leadership experience has come from the team’s three captains, defender Brenda Pina, midfielder Estafany Lopez and defender Luz Quintanilla. Davila says those three help set the tone for the entire team.
That tone has been nothing but good for Juarez. At 18-1, 7-0 the Huskies have dominated their 2012 opponents, outscoring 59-8, and easily winning the District 61-4A championship. In addition, Davila’s girls won the Brownsville Tournament in January.
“Physically we are not as big as we were last year,” says Davila. “This year we have more of a passing team. We practice a lot of possession games, so that transitions to the games. Our strength is possession, communication, passing, moving and just the basics of soccer. We have 11 attackers.”
Despite this year’s success, fresh in the minds of the Juarez athletes is last year’s disappointing loss to Hidalgo.
“[The girls] have been committing themselves since last season ended.”
While the key to the strong season has been the commitment and experience of the seniors, Davila notes that the incoming freshman have also worked hard, even pushing the seniors.
One of the freshmen is Selena Martinez, the team’s leading scorer. Though short, Martinez is skilled in dribbling, weaving herself amongst an opponent’s defenders.
“[Selena] sets a tone when it comes to hustle. She never stops. Her hustle, never-give-up-attitude [and] her humbleness sets her apart from the rest. It transpires onto [the rest of the team].”
Following Martinez’s 13 goals on the year, junior Marisol Vasquez and Kassy Segura have eight apiece.
Overall, says Davila of this year’s amazing run, “Things have come together [and it has] combined to make what I think is the strongest team we have had in the past three years.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.