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20120330_Sharyland_Girls_soccer_DistrictChampsSharyland girls soccer has an opportunity this year to take their program to new heights. The last time the team won the district championship was 2008. The last time the team got past second round of the postseason was 2005.

With the district championship secured, the team is looking forward to the playoffs. Head Coach JJ Lopez’s squad rammed their way through 30-5A, finishing district with a 13-1 record and beating out defending champ McHi, as well as other contenders Nikki Rowe and Memorial.

 

Besides their 2-1 loss to Rowe at the end of February, Sharyland dominated the district by leading in both goals scored, with 57, and also defensive goals against with just 10. The offense production was 20 more goals than Rowe’s 37.

 

Ironically, last year’s goals production was similar as the Rattlers put up 61 goals, again leading the district by a wide margin. Yet, Shary couldn’t get it done against the Bulldogs and had to settle for second.

What has been the difference?

“In soccer,” says Coach Lopez, “sometimes things can go different ways. You can dominate a game, but if you don’t take advantage of those opportunities that you are given, the whole game can change. Certainly this year I thought we were solid not only with the starting 11 but also with the backups. I think that was the difference maker. We are playing as a team. We have more girls that can go in there, keep the players fresh. Certainly that helps at the end of the game.”

Leading the deep-benched team has been the senior captains, Mackie Gomez, Victoria Valadez and Cory Chapa. Lopez says those three lead by example and “not just by talking.”

In addition to those three, Lopez says Daniela Cantu has stepped up her game and done well on the field. Cantu is one of the Valley’s leading scorers.

With the district title under their belt, the next challenge begins.

“We’ve made the playoffs every year that we have been in existence. We have won that first round every year we have been in existence. But we have gotten stuck a couple of times in that second round…”

Lopez also notes that much of the time the culprit has been Harlingen South. In fact, the Lady Hawks have beaten Sharyland for the past three years in the area round. Last year was a close 3-2 decision that kept the Lady Rattlers from advancing.

Losing to a team year in and year out could bring a psychological barrier for the Lady Rattlers. And considering South is in line to take on Sharyland if both teams win, history could again repeat itself.

Yet, this year is different. The Lady Rattlers are district champs. In the past when taking on the Hawks, it has been the opponent who entered in with the title of champions. This year, however, South finished only as runners-up, perhaps making them the underdogs.

Lopez says his team is more than ready for a good run.

“I think that this year we have the team to advance … to get back to the Sweet Sixteen and maybe even take it a step further than that. The girls are fired up and very goal oriented and working hard towards that.”

The next step begins Monday when the team takes on Laredo Martin at Sharyland Rattler Stadium for the bi-district crown. Game time is 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 6 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students.

Top Row: ( Standing up) left- right, Varsity Assistant Coach: Jessica Lopez, Varsity Head Coach: J.J. Lopez, ( Gk/#2) Chelsea Saenz, (Gk/#1) Courtney Garvin, #18 Mikaela Garvin; Middle Row: squating ( left to right)
 
#19 Nikki Gonzalez, #15 Clowyie Flores, #4 Beatriz Garza, #12 Cori Chapa, #3 Stephanie Siehr, #7 Victoria Valadez, #11 Anna Acuna, #25 Maried Salinas, #14 Miriam Garza; Bottom Row: Sitting ( left - right), #21 Ali Hill, #17 Kassie De La Garza, #5 Daniela Cantu, #23 daniela Pinto, #24 Chelsea Loya, #8 Ashley Garza, #10 Alejandra Alanis, #6 Beka Lopez
 
At very front sitting #13 Blanca " Makis" Gomez.

Top Row: ( Standing up) left- right, Varsity Assistant Coach: Jessica Lopez, Varsity Head Coach: J.J. Lopez, ( Gk/#2) Chelsea Saenz, (Gk/#1) Courtney Garvin, #18 Mikaela Garvin; Middle Row: squating ( left to right)
 
#19 Nikki Gonzalez, #15 Clowyie Flores, #4 Beatriz Garza, #12 Cori Chapa, #3 Stephanie Siehr, #7 Victoria Valadez, #11 Anna Acuna, #25 Maried Salinas, #14 Miriam Garza; Bottom Row: Sitting ( left - right), #21 Ali Hill, #17 Kassie De La Garza, #5 Daniela Cantu, #23 daniela Pinto, #24 Chelsea Loya, #8 Ashley Garza, #10 Alejandra Alanis, #6 Beka Lopez
 
At very front sitting #13 Blanca " Makis" Gomez.

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