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Winners Win

Juarez-Lincoln soccer is in first place, again. 

“We just know how to win district games,” Juarez-Lincoln Huskies’ head Coach Victor Ramos says with a wide grin. The fans are gone, and the game is over, but Ramos is basking in the glory of his team’s victory over rival La Joya Palmview. The Huskies staved off a flurry of late shot attempts from the Lobos to push their district lead to 6 games. Their 6-0 start, part of a 10-game winning streak, isn’t seen as something exceptional on the Huskies’ pitch. The Huskies expect to win every single time they suit up. Since Ramos has led the team, that’s all they’ve done. Success is all they know. And this year is par for the course.

The Huskies’ recent soccer success has been something to behold. The squad has averaged over twenty wins per season for the better part of the last decade. That period includes eight consecutive district championships, over 74 district wins, and a 2017 UIL State Tournament appearance.

“We went to state in 2017, and I think it’s time to go back…,” Ramos said.

Last year, the Huskies missed the tournament after losing, 1-0, to Brownsville Lopez in overtime of the Regional Quarterfinals. That was the same team the Huskies previously beat in their season opener 3-0. Yet, that moment and the feelings it created were fleeting. The Huskies are back in their element, dominating district play once again.

The Huskies triangles tired, confused, and frustrated the Lobos in the first half. They failed to capture and retain possession of the ball for an extended time and played the entire period on their backfoot, punting balls to the stands as the Huskies ping-ponged their way to their backline. No Huskies player has a set position. They flow up and down the field, slivering through every crease, occupying every open space.

“That’s the first thing we teach them here at Juarez-Lincoln. They need to learn one, two, three, four positions because we’re gonna need them on the field sometimes… it makes it easier to pull kids when they’re ready.”

Ever Mares scored the game’s first goal seven minutes into the first period after receiving a cross from Freddy Oveido and driving the ball into the back right post when the goalie overplayed the left side. The Huskies continued to dominate the ball. But with only 12 minutes left in the half, they lost the advantage. Goalie Jairo Bermudes swatted, punched, kicked, and dove on what seemed like half a dozen pinpoint strikes.

Palmview waited to tire the Huskies out and then attacked, nearly equalizing the game before the half. But just when it felt like momentum had shifted away from the home team, a breakaway for Edgar Hernandez created a penalty opportunity. One minute later and four minutes before the half, the Huskies extended their lead to 2-0.

The Huskies entered the second half the way they exited the first. They lacked cohesion, made silly mistakes, and fell behind trying to survive the Lobo advance. Fabian Montalvo scored 9 minutes into the half after he sprinted down the left slide and headed the ball straight to the right post. The Score was now 2-1.

The Huskies and Lobos continued to fight for control of the game, but none could outwrestle the other. Eventually, the game ended the same way it started, with one team attacking and the other trying to overcome a hellacious advancing attack.

With less than five minutes to play, the Huskies defended everything that headed toward their net. When the dust settled, they had avoided overtime and won the game 2-1. The victory was their eleventh win in a row and sixth consecutive district win of the season, adding to their twentieth consecutive district win dating back to 2022. It was challenging and done without their best striker, but they did it.

“The kids know how to win. They never give up. They know how to win these kinds of games,” Ramos said after last Friday night’s game that extended his team’s win streak.

Update: The Huskies’ 20 game district win streak ended Tuesday night after a 2-1 defeat to Laredo Nixon. Despite the loss, the Huskies still hold the district lead in points and wins. Their next district game is at 7 p.m. tonight in Roma against the Roma Gladiators.

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