It was a battle for the top spot in District 31-5A as the 9-1 Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks and the 9-0 Sharyland Lady Rattlers soccer teams met at Thompson Stadium Tuesday night. With the Lady Rattlers having emerged victorious from the two teams’ first round match-up, the pressure was on the Lady Diamondbacks to even up the score and keep their district title hopes alive by pulling out a victory over their cross-town rivals from Sharyland High.
However, thanks to the foot of sophomore left-wing Vanessa Guevara, who opened the scoring for the Lady Rattlers just over 10 minutes into the game and added two more goals in the second half, the Lady Diamondbacks fell to the Lady Rattlers once again – this time by a score of 3-0.
“My first goal tonight was unbelievable,” Guevara said immediately after the big win. “I couldn’t believe that it went in. They passed it to me and I took it down and scored. The moment it went in my whole team came up to me to celebrate. That’s how it was with every goal. It was just great!”
As for what it means for her to be a Lady Rattler Guevara said, “I love my team. It’s just honorable to be part of this team. Being a sophomore I can’t believe that I will get to be on this team for two more years and I’m really looking forward to what my soccer career here is going to be like.”
As a result of Tuesday night’s win, the Lady Rattlers have all but clinched the District 31-5A title. While each team’s record does count towards the standings, the determining factor in playoff seeding comes down to a point system. Going into Tuesday night’s game, the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Diamondbacks were tied at 27 points each. With their win, Sharyland now holds a 30-27 lead over Pioneer. The Lady Rattlers still have two games on their district schedule while the Lady Diamondbacks only have one.
That, according to first-year Lady Rattlers head coach Aaron Clemons, gives Sharyland a six-point advantage.
“Right now we’re six points above them,” explained Clemons. “But they’re right behind us so if we should lose both of our remaining games and they win theirs we’d have a co-championship. But if we win one of the two we’ll be district champs all alone.”
With Sharyland playing 2-7 Valley View tonight and 0-10 Rio Grande Tuesday, it is highly doubtful that the Lady Rattlers will lose one of those games, much less both.
As for the Lady Diamondbacks, despite the loss they have clinched second place in the district and are assured of post-season play in this their inaugural season.
As the former head coach of the Lady Rattlers and the current head coach of the Lady Diamondbacks, J.J. Lopez knew that earning a victory over his former team would not be easy.
“They’re a great team and they’ve got a great program,” shared Lopez. “Our inexperience showed tonight but I’m still very proud of the girls. They worked hard and they fought throughout the game. So, taking nothing away from the Lady Rattlers, we just didn’t show up and play the way I was anticipating we would.”
The Lady Diamondbacks close out their district schedule against the Roma Lady Gladiators at home tonight. The Lady Rattlers will be on the road against the Valley View Lady Tigers tonight and will finish up their district schedule at home against the Rio Grande City Lady Rattlers Tuesday. All games are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.