Mission, La Joya clash in 30-6A battle

La Joya and Mission reignited their rivalry on the soccer field Tuesday night as both the Boys and Girls teams met in district action at Tom Landry Stadium. The Coyotes and Eagles clashed in a battle for the second spot in 30-6A, while the Lady Coyotes and Lady Eagles were looking to turn their district season around.

Mission Eagles dominant in district battle for second
The Mission Eagles and La Joya Coyotes entered Tuesday night tied for second place in District 30-6A with 13 points apiece and 3-2-1 records. After 80 minutes of action, the Eagles established themselves as the superior team as they came through with a 6-2 victory in front of the home crowd, making them winners in 10 of their last 11 outings.20190219 LJHSvsMHS

Mission High Head Coach Christos Barouhas said after going through the motions in the prior game against PSJA, a win for the Eagles in penalty kicks, the coaches and players broke things down and the team responded against La Joya.

“We had a good talk after the game, we had a good talk today, and we knew they were going to come into this one to win the game,” Barouhas said. “We explained what we needed done, we went position by position, and it seems like they got it, they played according to their potential.”

The Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match’s first eight minutes and they never looked back. First half goals by Sebastian Montes, Allen Palafox, Efrain Gallegos and another by Montes gave Mission High a strong 4-0 lead heading into the break, denying La Joya of any solid chances at the net.

“Our mindset coming into this game was we both had a fighting chance for district and that’s still our first goal,” said senior midfielder Aaron Rodriguez. “Jumping out to an early lead, it gave us a good mentality and confidence to finish this one out.”

Six minutes into the second half, La Joya was able to get on board with a penalty kick to bring the score closer at 4-1, but another goal by Gallegos and one by senior Marco Castro for the Eagles locked up the victory for Mission High.

“It feels amazing whenever we get it going,” Montes said after the win and his two-goal performance. “It motivates the team and other guys to score more and it feels amazing. We just wanted to score, score, score and win the game. We’re satisfied but we still need to work harder and harder to get that district championship.”

The win gives the Eagles sole possession of the second spot in 30-6A with 16 points and a 4-2-1 record, while the Coyotes fall to 3-2-2 with 13 points. The victory also means catching the district leading Juarez-Lincoln Huskies is still in reach for Mission High.

“We’re alone in second place, we’re hoping that somebody will do something against Juarez, and then who knows? We don’t lose hope,” Barouhas said.

The Mission Eagles are set to take on McAllen Memorial, another 30-6A team fighting for a playoff spot, at 8 p.m. Friday at Memorial High School. The La Joya Coyotes will be looking to bounce back as they host PSJA at 8 p.m. Friday at La Joya Pack Stadium.

Lady Coyotes snap skid with complete game
The matchup between the Lady Coyotes and the Lady Eagles marked the end of the first round of district play, leaving just seven games remaining on the 30-6A schedule. While La Joya and Mission have struggled in league play, both programs were in desperate need of a win Tuesday night to turn things around, but it was the Lady Coyotes who walked away with the victory on the road.

“We lost five games in a row and they were pumped to come back to the victory side,” said Lupe Moreno, the La Joya Girls Soccer Head Coach. “We prepared very well; yesterday we had a very good practice, and they’re excited now, so hopefully this is the turnaround that we need.”

La Joya’s Kayla Ochoa showed why she’s the top scoring option for the Lady Coyotes and one of the best forwards in 30-6A as the junior punched in two goals on the night, one on a penalty kick in the first half and the second by sending a missile of a shot from 34 yards out over the Mission goalkeeper’s outstretched arms.

“She played midfield the first five games in the season then I moved her up to forward,” Moreno said of Ochoa. “She only had one goal before district, now she has six goals in district. Last year she was our goal scorer, I think that rocket shot there wasn’t going to go in at first, so hopefully we can get more offense going.”

Ochoa’s two goals and a third from fellow forward Michelle Garcia led the Lady Coyotes to a 3-1 victory over the Lady Eagles, sending La Joya to 2-5 in district play. With round two of district set to begin Friday night, Moreno and the Lady Coyotes are focused on improving the defense which can lead to better offense.

“We need to get our defense ready because being in our district with McHi, Juarez and Memorial, they have tough offensive attacks so we’re going to go back and start getting ready defensively and work with our scorers and see if we can put one in,” Moreno said.

The Lady Coyotes have the opportunity to pull off a sweep of PSJA at home Friday at 6 p.m. at La Joya Pack Stadium. The Lady Eagles will travel to take on District 30-6A’s second place team, McAllen Memorial, Friday at 6 p.m.

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