With the calendar turning to February, the area soccer teams head into this month with hopes of more district success prior to the playoffs in the forefront of their minds.
Thanks to the steady leadership of four-year senior goalkeeper Jacob Manley and outstanding defenders Zach Blice and Diego Garcia, the Eagles appear ready to make some noise in the upcoming TAPPS playoffs.
The elimination games begin in just a little over two weeks and with just one loss in their first eight TAPPS district games, the Eagles went into the final days of the winter season at the top of the six-team standings.
Head coach Kenny Martin’s team began the year looking to replace nearly all of their scoring after graduating the trio of Matthew Leal, Jesus Toscano, and Rory Hogan last June and things have worked out just as Martin had hoped with the Eagles still able to penetrate the other team’s goal enough to make their constant emphasis on defense work. Sophomore midfielder Alessandro Rivero has helped the Eagles find that lost offense, scoring over 40 points this year with 17 goals in his first 10 games.
Senior Julien Zavonello has also been a big threat scoring 26 points with eight goals and 10 assists in the team’s first dozen games as those two are among the top threats in this TAPPS league.
After winning 18 games last year, the Eagles are on pace to do that again this year with 15 wins heading into this week. St. Thomas was eliminated in the second round of the TAPPS playoff last year and are hoping to better that real soon when the postseason begins.
The red-and-white will host archrival St. Pius X Friday night in a big rematch after the Eagles took a 2-1 victory over their Panthers in their first meeting nearly a month ago.
They play their next-to-last game of the year 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Awty International before closing the season 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 at home against HCYA.
St. Pius X
The Panthers have found some late-season magic and are making a lot of noise regarding the TAPPS Division 1, District 3 standings with three consecutive league wins heading into this week. With good defensive play and steady offense, the orange-and-white have knocked off The Village, Concordia Lutheran and St. Johns XXIII by a combined score of 8-3 with hard-fought 2-1 wins over both The Village School and St. John’s XXIII. Adding to those dramatic wins, the Village School match went into overtime before the Panthers got the game-winner.
Senior forward Nicholas Medina continued to be one of the top scorers in the district, putting at least one shot into the back of the net in all three of those league wins. In last Friday evening’s win over St. John’s XXIII, freshman midfielder Dylan Rizo had the decisive second-half goal, giving the team that much more momentum heading into the last week of the campaign.
The Panthers began this week at 12-4-2 overall.
The Bulldogs have played pretty decent soccer at times during the first month of the season and are hoping to put everything altogether now that the District 18-6A schedule has arrived.
The Bulldogs closed out the pre-district with a 2-6-1 record, but were very competitive and are hoping for a fresh beginning this week when they kick off the games that will determine whether or not they are part of the playoffs in March.
They ended the January part of their schedule by winning one of three games in the Waller ISD Tournament in north Montgomery County. They began the event with an excellent 1-0 victory over Cypress Falls for their biggest win of the season so far, but then fell 3-0 to Houston KIPP and 4-2 to the hosts to close out their pre-district tournaments. After opening the 18-6A schedule Tuesday against potential district champion Bellaire, the Heights will take on Sam Houston 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 at Delmar Stadium before they play Westbury 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Butler Stadium.