By Pat Turner
Clark’s girls have big goals this soccer season.
After advancing to the third round of the playoffs a year ago, the Cougars went into the 2019 season with determination to make a longer run.
The post-season is still a couple weeks from beginning, but the Cougars are giving every indication they’re serious about accomplishing what they set out to do.
Clark (18-2-2, 16-0-0) grabbed a share of the District 28-6A title this past week and can claim outright this week with a win over Holmes.
Things have run smoothly all season. The scoring is balanced with Andrea Santos leading the way with 18 goals and 12 assists. Hannah Faustino (12 goals, four assists), Taylor Tommack (11 goals, 21 assists) and Emily Hight (10 goals, three assists) and Lauren Nyland (five goals, 10 assists) have also made major contributions.
“We have some talented, competitive players who want to go a long way,” Clark coach Diana Driggers said. “We lost in the third round of the playoffs (2-0 to Johnson) and they felt they could have one farther. They came back hungrier. We have a great group of freshmen who have come in. They’ve brought a lot of energy.
“We have great chemistry. They have come together and they’re going to play hard for each other.”
The Cougars looked sharp this past week.
Clark had a tough time against Brennan as the Cougars needed goals from Santos and Klenke to squeeze out a 2-1 win.
The Cougars took charge quicker against O’Connor by scoring all four goals in the first half of its 4-1 victory.
Tommack, who recently had six assists in a 9-1 win over Stevens, kicked in two goals and set up another.
Santos and Hight, who also had an assist, found the net as well.
“That start was huge for us,” Driggers said. “In the last three games we struggled to get going. We came out and played really well.”
Now, the Cougars look to continue their pace.
“It’s exciting being district champions,” Driggers said. “We want to continue to focus on being at the top of our game. We’re going to work on the little details.”
Brandeis (15-3-2, 14-2-0) and Taft (14-8-2, 10-4-1) also clinched playoff spots.
The Broncos rolled to a 9-0 win over Holmes with a balanced offense. A variety of player got involved, including Arden Villanueva, who punched in two goals and delivered two assists, Avery Chaney (two goals, one assist) and Aisley Stevens (one goal, two assists).
Taft overcame a 1-0 deficit with goals from Adriana Hutson and Heidi Garza to rally to a 2-1 victory over Warren.
The Raiders struck much sooner against Jay as five goals in the first half set the pace for an 8-3 victory.
Hutton provided four of Taft’s goals and Avry Scott helped out with two goals and two assists.
O’Connor (13-6-1,10-5-1) can put a clamp on the fourth playoff spot with a win over Brennan (11-7-2, 8-7-1) this week.
Despite the loss to Clark, the Panthers kept their playoff hopes in good standing with a 6-0 thumping of Marshall.
Emma Thomas led the Panthers, who leaped to a 5-0 halftime lead, with two goals. Amanda Dalbert and Bianca Garcia contributed with a goal and an assist.
Brennan kept its playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win over Stevens.
Emalee Wood scored two goals for the Bears with scores also coming from Dayven Blakemore. Heather Hughes and Jordan Tucker.
The Hawks are on the verge of winning the District 28-5A crown in its first year of varsity soccer.
Harlan (16-0-2, 11-0-2) can seal the deal with a win over Southwest (13-3-4, 10-12), which shares second place with Medina Valley (16-3-2, 10-1-2).
The Hawks moved closer to reaching that pinnacle by showing their ability to handle the heat this past week.
It started against Medina Valley. The Hawks and Panthers were tied at 2-all when Ava McKay hammered in a second-half goal for a 3-2 victory.
McKay also had a first-half goal and assisted in Destinee Velazquez’s goal.