Clark girls, Jay boys head to playoffs seeking more success

By Pat Turner

District 28-6A soccer winded down this past week and Clark’s girls and Jay’s boys went out in style.

While Clark (18-2-2-, 18-0-0) capped its District 28-6A title with a perfect run, Jay captured the boys’ crown with a 2-1 (4-2 penalty kicks) win over Marshall.

Clark went into the finale with the title wrapped up but going undefeated in league play was a goal. The Cougars accomplished what they set out to do with a 3-1 victory over Warren.

Now, the Cougars are looking to continue the winning in the playoffs, beginning with a bi-district match against Churchill at 7 p.m. Thursday at Farris Stadium.

“It was great going perfect in district,” Clark coach Diana Driggers said. “We’re blessed with talented kids. We remained healthy and that’s big considering how many games we play. We struggled a little bit (against Warren) but we won. We’ll have to change our mentality for the playoffs.

“But our kids come out mentally for big games and I know they’ll do that.”

Sarah Steffen kicked in a goal and assisted in another.  Grace Gibson and Emily Hight also added goals. In addition, Clark’s defense remained sturdy throughout the match.

Jay’s claiming of the title had more drama.

Jay (15-2-5, 12-1-5) and Marshall (15-4-5, 11-2-5) were tied for the top spot going into the finale and two teams showed their determination the entire match.

Defense stole the show in regulation as neither team could get the advantage. While Jay goalkeeper Timothy Gonzalez, Jonathan Gonzales, Aldo Palacios, Diego Martinez, Roberto Lopez, Jared Jaroszewski, Richard Florian Lopez, Jack Tablizo and Diego Jasso were stopping Marshall, the Rams were putting a halt to the Mustangs’ threats behind the work of Khristian Alvarez, Angelo Rodriguez, Jaime Daniel Gomez, Cesar Mungia, Hendrick Ramirez, Gilbert Guevara, Abdul Elsaid and goalie Brandon Gonzalez.

The scoreless tie sent the match into overtime and the defensive tussle continued until Jay’s Diego Jasso popped in a goal on an assist from Ulisses Pincon midway through the first OT.

Jay’s 1-0 lead continued throughout the first OT and into the final seconds of the second period. Just when it seemed the Mustangs had things wrapped up, Jzee Ahmed gave the Rams new life by kicking in the tying goal as the buzzer sounded, forcing the match to be decided by penalty kicks.

Despite Marshall’s late goal, Jay recovered and got the upper hand.

Oluwatimileyin Talabi and Palacios gave Jay a 2-0 advantage. Marshall came back with a goal from Kelvin Alvarez.

After a missed opportunity, Jay got another score from Jonathan Gonzales for another two-goal lead. Marshall countered with a goal, but Lopez added the finishing touch for the Mustangs, igniting a massive celebration.

Jay faces MacArthur at 7 p.m. Thursday at NISD Field 1 and Marshall takes on Reagan at 6 p.m. Friday at Farris.

“At the end of the day it comes down to the kids believing in themselves,” Jay coach David Johnson said. “We had chance after chance, but our kids kept playing. When we gave up the goal, we told them to clear their heads and move on. At the end of the day, the kids expected to win.”

In addition to Clark, 28-6A’s girls’ post-season qualifiers include Brandeis (16-3-3, 15-2-1), Taft (12-8-3, 12-4-2) and O’Connor (14-7-1, 11-6-1).

Brandeis and Taft closed out the regular season with a 2-2 tie.

The Broncos got their goals from Mia Landrus and Alex Murillo while Adrianna Hutson and Alexia Murillo scored for Taft.

O’Connor snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-0 topping of Stevens.

Joining Jay and Marshall in the boys’ division are Warren (14-4-4, 11-3-4) and Brennan (13-5-4, 9-5-4).

Warren topped Clark, 2-0, on goals from Isaiah Simien and Matthew Martinez.

Brennan and Stevens tied, 1-1.

 Harlan

Harlan’s boys and girls are headed to the Class 5A playoffs in their first year of varsity competition.

Harlan’s girls (18-1-2, 13-1-2) tied Southwest (16-3-4, 13-1-2) and Medina Valley (19-3-2, 13-1-2) for the District 28-5A title.

However, Harlan enters the playoffs as the second seed and plays Burbank at 7 p.m. Thursday at SAISD Sports Complex Field 1.

Harlan ended its regular season with a 10-0 win over El Paso Winn.

Maryssa Rivera recorded a hat trick and Ava McKay kicked in two goals with two assists. Alyssa Vasquez put in two goals and set up three other scores.

Kalissa Kuchka added a goal with two assists. Kameron Bonilla helped with a goal and assist.

Harlan’s boys (14-7-3, 12-3-1) finished third and plays Brackenridge at 7 p.m. Friday at Gustafson.

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