Big 6 well represented in soccer playoffs
Five out of the “Big 6” boys soccer teams, along with four of the girls sides, advanced to the high school soccer playoffs that kicked off on Monday and conclude with the UIL state tournament on April 17-19 at Georgetown.
The battle for supremacy in the boys District 30-5A title race was won by La Joya Juárez-Lincoln (13-3, 39) for the second straight season, four points ahead of runner up Sharyland (13-3, 35) and third place La Joya Palmview (11-5, 33). Edinburg North (9-7, 27) clinched the fourth 30-5A playoff spot in the last game of the regular season.
Juárez-Lincoln begins its playoff run against 29-5A fourth place Laredo Alexander (6-1-5, 19) on Friday at La Joya’s Pack Stadium at 6 p.m. The Huskies have won four district titles and advanced at least three games deep into the playoffs in each of their six seasons since they began play in 2009. Last year, they reached the IV-5A regional quarterfinals before losing to eventual state runner up Brownsville Hanna.
“Our first objective was to win district and in the playoffs our objective is to advance further than we have before and make the jump to the state tournament,” Juárez-Lincoln head coach Victor Ramos said. “We’ve come close, but we expect to make it this year. We have to take what we’ve learned in previous years and use that experience in the playoffs.”
Sharyland played Thursday night against 29-5A third place Laredo LBJ (7-2-2, 23) at Rattler Stadium in a rematch of last year’s bi-district playoffs. The Rattlers defeated LBJ 3-0 in 2013.
La Joya Palmview travels to Laredo and will face 29-5A runner up Del Río (9-1-2, 28) on Friday at 5 p.m. It’s the first time the Lobos have qualified to the playoffs in their short six year history.
Mission and Mission Veterans Memorial boys and girls squads each received byes in the 4A bi-district playoffs that were played earlier in the week because there are no teams in District 62-4A. The Eagles (6-4, 20 points) split the District 61-4A boys championship three ways with Roma (7-3, 20) and Rio Grande City (7-3, 20). The Patriots (6-4, 16) finished fourth.
“We were the better team in all 10 district games and we lost two games and two shootouts due to our inability to capitalize on our numerous chances,” Mission head coach Christos Barouhas said. “Almost none of the goals scored against us were a result of a combination of attacking play from the opposing team, rather it was a giveaway on our part.”
Mission hopes to put it all together against Mercedes in the area round of the 4A playoffs on Friday at 7 p.m. at Tom Landry Stadium. Mission Veterans visits PSJA Southwest on Friday at 6 p.m at PSJA Stadium.
Mercedes is the District 63-4A fourth place qualifier and the Tigers eliminated 64-4A champion Progreso 2-1 in the opening round of the postseason on Tuesday. PSJA Southwest is the 63-4A runner up and the Javelinas routed Port Isabel 8-0 on Monday in their bi-district playoff match.
Girls Soccer Playoffs
In the girls 5A category, Sharyland (16-0, 46) won their third consecutive 30-5A championship with room to spare over runner up Edinburg North (12-4, 37). It was also the second straight undefeated season for the Lady Rattlers.
Sharyland faced Laredo LBJ (7-5, 21) in a rematch of the 2013 bi-district playoffs on Thursday at Rattler Stadium. The Lady Rattlers eliminated the Lady Wolves 9-0 last year in the postseason.
“As we start the playoffs it’s important that we stay focused and humble,” Sharyland head coach J.J. López said. “It’s critical that we continue to build momentum as we know the games will be tougher. All records are thrown out because in the playoffs anything can happen. We have had and continue to have high expectations for this group of young ladies.”
“We have a good combination of experienced players along with some very talented young girls,” added López. “The key to a good playoff run is going to be staying healthy and remembering what got us here, teamwork. We’ll take it one game at a time in trying to accomplish the ultimate goal of getting a state title.”
The other 5A Big 6 girls squad to qualify for the postseason is Juárez-Lincoln. The Lady Huskies took third place in district with a 12-4 mark for 36 points, and will visit Del Río on Friday at 7 p.m. at Laredo.
In girls 4A, Mission (7-1, 21) won the 61-4A title outright for the second consecutive year with only two senior starters in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Lady Eagles. Mission reached the IV-4A regional quarterfinals in 2013.
“These girls have done really well. We lost seven starters from last year, we replaced them and these girls have stood up and done a really good job of picking things up and playing really well this year,” Lady Eagles head coach Aaron Clemons said. “I don’t think anybody expected us to have this good of a season. We’re proud of them, they’re a hard working bunch of girls.”
Mission will face PSJA Southwest in the area round. The Lady Javelinas eliminated Progreso 5-1 in bi-district.
“I believe we can go just as far as we did last year, if not, farther,” Clemons said. “We set our goals to get to the regional tournament. I hear Coach Peña say it all the time, ‘we’re not going to lower the bar for anybody.’ We’re going to go after it, that’s our goal, that’s where we want to get to. We want to go further than anybody has been at the school.”
Mission Veterans was the 61-4A runner up with a 6-2 record for 18 points. The Lady Patriots visit La Feria on Friday at 7 p.m.