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MISSION—Sharyland midfielder Gilberto “Tito” Alanis closed out his high school soccer career on Thursday, May 9, by doing what he’s always done, come through in the clutch. Alanis scored the game-winning goal to lift the West All-Stars over the East 3-2 in the Sixth Annual Rio Grande Valley Soccer Coaches Organization Senior Showcase at Rattler Stadium.
The win was the West squad’s second in a row over the East. The West defeated the East 2-0 in 2012 at the Brownsville Sports Park and leads the all-time RGVSCO Senior Showcase series 4-2.
“It felt great and thank God that He gave me the chance to make the winning goal for my team,” said Alanis. “This is just the pay off of all the hard work I put these past four years and what better than ending it at Sharyland, my home field.”
PSJA North’s Jacob Hinojosa, a Sharyland alumnus and former player, and Río Grande City’s Amado Rodríguez coached the West, while Brownsville Pace’s José Alfredo “Chico” Jiménez, Progreso’s Margarito Jiménez, and La Feria’s Sergio Rodríguez coached the East squad.
“I knew that game was going to be pretty intense and the hardest part would be to get everybody in the game to play and that there was chemistry between all of them,” said Hinojosa. “We made the necessary changes to pressure the other team. It was harder in the first half but the kids gave it their all and thank God we came out with the victory and represented the West well.”
“I almost cried (being back at Sharyland),” added Hinojosa. “I miss my school (Sharyland). There were some mixed feelings, but it felt good to be back here. I was really excited.”
Alanis’ strike with 11 minutes remaining in the RGVSCO boys Senior Showcase on his own home field turf capped the West’s come-from-behind victory. The Rattlers and West squad’s captain shared the field with fellow Sharyland senior teammates Daniel García and Gerardo Garza. The trio was part of Sharyland’s 2012 state championship team.
La Joya Palmview’s Efraín Durán equalized the match at 2-2 in the 47th minute of play after trailing 2-1 in the first half. Prior to the game, Durán signed a letter of intent to play NAIA Division I collegiate soccer with Wiley College.
Despite having a smaller squad, the East opened the scoring in the 10th minute when they provoked the West to put the ball into their own net to take an early 1-0 lead.
The West equalized 25 minutes later on a tally by La Joya’s Luis Hinojosa, but District 31-5A leading scorer Ángel Estrada of San Benito put the East back on top 2-1 with two minutes left in the first half. Estrada tallied 19 goals in 16 games for the Greyhounds during the 2013 district season.
In the opening game, the girls senior showcase matchup ended in a dramatic 2-all draw at the end of regulation when Los Fresnos’ Ariana “Pinky” Castillo scored a pair of goals in the last 15 minutes of the match for the East to force the match into penalty kicks.
The West was bolstered by Mission’s goalkeeper and penalty kick specialist Jessica López, who stopped one of the East’s shots while another smashed into the crossbar and another sailed over it.
After the West missed its opening shot, McAllen Rowe’s Savannah Martínez and Katia Treviño, and McAllen Memorial’s Maggie Calderón converted the next three penalty kicks to give their squad a 3-1 victory in PKs. Castillo scored the only PK for the East.
“We dragged a little bit in the second half, but we pulled it out at the end with the PKs. Jessica López, she’s trusting right there, and she’s done a great job all year,” said Mission and the West squad’s head coach Aaron Clemons. “She’s a heck of player and I’m going to miss her. This was a great group of girls. I’m very fortunate to have coached them."
La Joya Palmview’s Brenda Flores put the West on the board in the opening 35 seconds of the game and Sharyland’s Maegan Idrogo increased the Upper Valley squad’s lead to 2-0 with 27 minutes remaining in the first half.
The West girls’ victory was the second straight over the East and it gave them a 5-1 edge over their Lower Valley rivals in the all-time RGVSCO Senior Showcase series.
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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.