DONNA – The Huskies came close to pulling off a remarkable comeback against Brownsville Rivera at Tuesday night’s region IV-6A quarterfinals, only to be thwarted by the Raiders in penalty kicks 4-3 (5-4 aggregate) after playing to a 1-all draw in regulation and overtime at Bennie La Prade Stadium.
“That’s been the story for us this year,” La Joya Juárez-Lincoln head coach Víctor Ramos said. “We practiced for this, but that’s how penalty kicks are. Nobody wants to go to penalty kicks because you never know what’s going to happen, it’s a coin flip and now it was our turn to lose.”
Juárez-Lincoln lost two out of three PK shootouts in District 30-6A play and found themselves on the winning end of the soccer roulette wheel last week when they defeated Brownsville Veterans Memorial in shootouts during the area round of the playoffs.
In Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals, Eliseo Ortiz put Rivera on top 1-0 in the opening 10 minutes of the match. However, the Huskies equalized a split-second before halftime on Ángel García’s goal to take a 1-all tie into the intermission.
After a scoreless second half and 1-1 draw at the end of regulation, the match went into overtime, where neither team was able to finish off the other and called upon PKs to decide which team would advance to the semifinals.
In the penalty kick series, the Raiders went 4-for-5 and goalkeeper Jesús Zaragoza blocked two of the Huskies’ shots to lead Brownsville Rivera to a 4-3 PK victory and the region IV-6A semifinals.
“We knew of their potent offense, but we also knew that we could attack them and that was our plan from the start, to pressure them and at the same time try to counterattack, and I think it worked well,” Ramos said. “We had a few missed opportunities and it cost us.”
“It was a good season nonetheless,” he added. “We’re rebuilding this year and I think the guys learned a lot by playing against a team like Rivera. You learn a lot from these games and we’re going to start preparing for next year.”
Juárez-Lincoln was the 30-6A runner up this season and went three deep in the playoffs after their elimination by Rivera.
In girls 5A soccer, both Sharyland schools advanced to the regional tournament at Corpus Christi.
The Rattlers shut out Victoria West 3-0 on Tuesday at Corpus Christi on goals by Vanessa Guevara, Katie Watson and Isabella Marinaro.
“At the beginning of the season we set out our first goal go get to the regional tournament and met that goal,” Sharyland head coach Aaron Clemons said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of these girls and I look forward to accomplishing the rest of our goals.”
Sharyland will face Cedar Park on April 10 at 4:30 p.m. at Corpus Christi in the 5A regional semifinals. The Lady Timberwolves defeated Vista Ridge in penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation and overtime in the quarterfinals.
Pioneer was the first of the two Sharyland ISD high schools to advance to the regional tournament after slipping past District 31-5A rival Edinburg Vela 1-0 on Monday at Cats Stadium.
The victory over Vela was the Lady D’backs’ third this season over the Lady Sabercats. In district play, Pioneer defeated Vela 4-0 and 3-0, respectively.
In the most recent rematch against Vela, Julie Alanis scored the game winner for the Lady Diamondbacks, who advanced to the regional semifinals in the first year of the Pioneer girls soccer program.
The Lady Diamondbacks will face Austin Vandegrift on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Corpus Christi in the semifinals. Vandegrift defeated Georgetown 3-nil on Monday.