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Lady Patriots, Huskies, and Lobos fight for first

Big 7 girls’ soccer season winding down

Tuesday night, Veterans Memorial High School hosted a District 30-5A matchup between the 7-3 Palmview Lobos and the 9-0-1 Veterans Memorial Patriots. The Lobos kept the Patriots on their toes all night. The underdog Lobos came into this game playing aggressively against this elite Patriots defense. All that aggressiveness paid off as Lobos’ senior attacking midfielder Valerie Morales shot a beauty into the top right corner of the goal 17 minutes into the first half. The Lobos were on top against the number one team in their district in the first half and they were looking to keep it that way in the second half.

Progress Times Photo by Luciano Guerra

The Patriots started bringing more energy, being more aggressive, and attacking more often, but this Lobos defense wasn’t letting up. The Lobos were able to successfully tackle three times in the game, leading to a numerous number of possession changes. As time passed, the Lobos were closer and closer to upsetting the Patriots, but one last ditch effort from the Patriots would truly decide that.

With 15 minutes to go in the game, the Patriots forced the Lobos to play their best defense. The Patriots were getting opportunities to shoot at the goal, but only a few were shot on target. With only a couple minutes left in the game, the Patriots got themselves in the best position to score all night…a corner kick. The kick sailed into a sea of blue jerseys, hoping that one of them would be able to land it in the back of the net. The ball connected with the cleat of a Patriot, but the Lobos stood their ground and blocked it from getting into the goal. The Lobos would go on to complete the upset, winning 1-0.

Progress Times spoke to Lobos’ head coach Daniel Malacara about the win and the hopes for the ensuing playoffs, “We want to win the rest of these three games. We want to jump to second place and get hot as we go into the playoffs. We want to be locked in come playoff time. It’s going to be a battle, so we want to be as prepared as we can be.”

Big 7 girls’ soccer season winding down

We asked about the performance of his midfielder Valerie Morales, who scored the lone goal in this game, “She’s the heart and soul of this team. She’s simply the best. I don’t have words to express what she means to this team and what she means to girls. She motivates, she makes us better, and at the end you can see that she can score as well.” Morales’ technique, touch, and skill were the driving force for this upset win over the Patriots.

Progress Times spoke to Patriots head coach Kenan Nunez after the game about their first place position in the district, “Palmview is good, but I told the girls that the district runs through us. We’ve gone to their house and beat them 1-0, they came to ours and beat us 1-0. I told the girls that if we were to play this team ten times, it wouldn’t surprise me if we went 5-5 against them. They’re stacked, we’re stacked. It’s two heavyweights throwing big blows and they landed a major one and we didn’t. We’re still in first place as of now, but they’re moving up. That puts the pressure on us to do what we do.”

Nunez went on to talk about the ensuing playoffs, “We want to win. I like that we’re healthy, I like that we have all of our pieces, as of right now, there’s no excuses. As long as we take care of our business, we’re going to be okay.”

With Tuesday night’s loss, the Patriots fall to 9-1-1 while the Lobos moved closer to first with a 8-3 record. The Patriots are sitting in first place, but not comfortably. The Juarez Lincoln Lady Huskies trail the Patriots in second place with a 9-2 record following their win on Tuesday against the Rio Grande City Rattlers. All three of these teams have their sights set on the district championship, but only one team can win. With only three more games to go in the soccer season, here’s how the rest of our Big 7 Soccer teams are doing in their respective districts.

The 9-5 Sharyland Lady Rattlers and 7-6-1 Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks are both competing for a playoff spot in District 31-5A… with each other. The district is led by the first place Memorial Mustangs, second place McAllen Bulldogs, and third place Vela Sabercats. The Rattlers find themselves in 4th place with a playoff seed, but the Pioneer Diamondbacks are only behind them by two games. From a look at their schedule, the Diamondbacks have what it takes to bridge the gap and it could come down to the last game of the season, where these two teams face off against each other. The district title may be out of reach for these teams, but a playoff run is very much a possibility.

The 5-1 La Joya Lady Coyotes are currently commanding the top spot in District 31-6A. This Coyotes team has slowly cemented themselves as the team to beat in the district. The Edinburg North Cougars and Economedes Jaguars trail this team in the second and third place spots. The 3-3 Mission Eagles have a shot at taking that 4th place spot for themselves but they’ll have to beat out the PSJA Bears and Edinburg Bobcats in order to do that.

As of today, all seven teams will have a shot in these last couple games of the season to make the playoffs. Progress Times wishes the best of luck to these teams as they look towards the postseason.

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