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Hawks capture the Rattlers, Coyotes on the rise

Sharyland Senior Midfielder #10, Yhoalibeth Alvarez, controls the ball keeping it away from her opponent from Harlingen. Photo by Mario Magallon

Big 7 girls’ soccer teams swept in first round

Richard Thompson Stadium hosted a bi-district soccer matchup between the Harlingen South Lady Hawks and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers. The district champion winning Lady Hawks were hoping to get off to a good start against this Lady Rattlers team. With 27 minutes left in the first half, lightning struck for the Lady Hawks as they got off to a 1-0 lead over the Lady Rattlers. Minutes later, a second Lady Hawks striker would pin the ball in the back of the Rattlers’ net.

A 0-2 deficit going into half wasn’t enough for the Lady Rattlers to give up on the game. Players such as Rachel Andaverdi, Yhoalibeth Alvarez, and Marifer Cabada would help the Lady Rattlers find their footing in the second half. However, the Hawks would ultimately put the nail in the coffin with a third goal with four minutes left in the game. With the 0-3 loss, Lady Rattlers otherwise successful 2024 season has come to an end.

Progress Times spoke to Sharyland head coach Mario Ribera following the loss on Tuesday, “Just like every year, our goal is to make it to the playoffs. We’re in one of the most competitive districts south of San Antonio and we got to this point, we’ve met our goal. We have to give credit to Harlingen South, they’re an excellent team. I knew we would hang with them and we were going to give them a fight, unfortunately we got hit with a red card in the first ten minutes. To play 10 vs 11 against a really good team, it’s almost impossible, but our girls did everything they could. I’m very proud of my team, they played with their heart and they gave it everything that they had till the end.”

The Lady Rattlers weren’t the only team that faced elimination this week.

The #1 Veterans Memorial Patriots lost to #4 Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Eagles 2-3. The #2 Palmview Lobos lost to the #3 Victoria West Warriors 1-2. #3 Juarez Lincoln Huskies lost to the #2 Flour Bluff Hornets 1-4.

The #4 Mission Eagles lost to the #1 Harlingen Cardinals 0-10. The #1 La Joya Coyotes lost to the #4 Rivera Raiders 0-0 (1-3 PKs.)

After the La Joya Coyotes dominated for the majority of their matchup against the Rivera Raiders, they lost in penalty kicks. This was a heartbreaking loss for a Lady Coyotes team that has been improving by leaps and bounds. Two years ago, head coach Eugenio Milla took over this program and brought the most success the Lady Coyotes soccer program has seen in over 15 seasons. Milla told Progress Times that he did not do it alone. Milla was once the head coach for the boys soccer program and in that run as head coach, he took the Coyotes to the regional semi-finals. Two years ago when he was appointed the girls head coach, he hired Jorge Cantu and Vicente Guerra, two of his former players on that boys Coyotes team that went to the regional semi-finals. From there, the Lady Coyotes have been moving forward with guns blazing.

Milla told us, “We started a project. We reformed a team that needed a winning mentality. We have a system that these guys know because they’ve played for me before. We’ve been adding more stuff to teach the girls. We don’t want to teach these girls how to play football, we want to teach them how to be a player. We can teach you how to kick a ball but if we can’t teach you how to play the game, then you aren’t going to win. Now we’re a team that is great. Nobody expected that my team would give them a great match.”

Milla went on to tell us, “The goal this year was to win district and to win in the playoffs as district champions. We almost did it but we lost in a game that was controlled by us. There was not a dangerous play against us in that game but unfortunately in penalty kicks, sometimes you don’t make it there. We had a couple of opportunities but couldn’t get it in the goal. Football and life are alike in this way. Football is how it is. It’s not how you want it to be. If you do the right things, of course it’s going to go in your favor, but there’s nights where the ball doesn’t want to go in, and tonight was one of those nights, and that’s okay. This is a top-notch team, we’re closing the gap with the big teams and I know we’re going to get better. The next season starts today.”

From little to no success in district play to competing in the playoffs and winning a district championship in only two years. There’s no question that this team is only going to keep improving. The question is, how high can this team soar? The Coyotes will be a team to look out for next season to make a deep run and as long as Eugenio Milla and his staff is a part of that program, you should expect excellence out of the Lady Coyotes.

That puts a bow on the Big 7 Lady Soccer season. All seven teams have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Congratulations to all the Big 7 Lady Soccer teams for yet another great season and the best of luck in the offseason to those who will be competing next year.

 

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