Four for four. All four soccer teams from Mission High School (MHS) and the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) have finished their District 61-4A schedule and all four teams are heading to the playoffs – boys and girls.
With the old and politically incorrect adage of ladies first in mind, here is a breakdown of how the Lady Eagles and the Lady Patriots finished up in their district race.
For the second year in a row the MHS Lady Eagles soccer team has taken the district title. Last year, they posted a perfect 8-0 record and advanced to the regional quarterfinals, also known as the Elite Eight, where they lost 1-0 to the Jones High School Lady Trojans of Beeville.
This year, Coach Aaron Clemons’ Lady Eagles are 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of their cross-town rival VMHS Lady Patriots. Mission outscored their district opponents this season 23-3.
With all District 61-4A playoff teams having a bye in the bi-district round of the playoffs, the Lady Eagles’, as well as the other 61-4A playoff teams’, first playoff game will be in the area round. This game will most likely be played Friday, March 28, with their opponent and the location of the game to be determined later. According to Clemons, however, their opponent will be the winner of the Progreso vs Pharr San-Juan Alamo Southwest bi-district game.
“We have not seen Progreso before this year, but we did scrimmage against PSJA SW at the beginning of the season and we defeated them 4-1,” explained Clemons. “But they’ve gotten a lot better since then. Either way it will be a tough game for us because anything can happen in the playoffs. We’re going to go ahead and flip a coin with both teams on Friday so we’ll know more about where we’re going to be playing then. With the boys being in the playoffs too, we could end up playing a doubleheader with them.”
Coach Mike Espinoza’s VMHS Lady Patriots came in a close second to the Lady Eagles this year with a 6-2 record. Other than their first round loss to the Lady Eagles, Veterans’ only other loss was a 1-0 loss on penalty kicks to Roma. The Lady Patriots outscored their district opponents this year by 16-3. Lady Patriots’ Amanda Lozano was among the top scorers in the district with six goals.
In the District 61-4A boys’ race, Coach Christos Barouhas’ Mission Eagles finished tied for first in points with Roma and Rio Grande City. Their 6-4 record was the third best in the district but in soccer a point system determines the district standings and all three of the top teams ended the regular season with 20 points. The Eagles outscored their opponents 47-12 this season with Luis Leija leading the way in scoring for Mission with four goals.
Last year, the Eagles took the district championship with an 8-2 record. They advanced to the sectional round of the state playoffs, where they lost to Valley View by a score of 6-2.
Coach William Proctor’s VMHS Patriots boys finished their regular season 6-4 to capture fourth place with 16 points. The Patriots scored as many goals as they gave up this season, 13-13. They lost their last two games of the season to Roma and La Grulla by scores of 2-1 and 1-0, respectively. Otherwise VMHS could’ve been in the hunt for the district title themselves this season. Ricardo Vasquez was the Patriots’ top scorer this season with four goals.
As for who the Patriots will be playing first in the playoffs, Proctor shared what he believes to be their post-season scenario.
“Our first playoff game is actually a bye,” he explained. “So we’ll have to play the winner of the other bi-district game. As the fourth place team in our district, we’re supposed to play the District 62-4A winner, but there is no 62-4A. It looks as if we’ll be playing the winner of the game between 63-4A’s second place team (PSJA SW) and 64-4A’s third place team (Port Isabel). That was our scenario last year.”