The Sealy Lady Tiger soccer club got off on the right foot in district play, picking up wins over their first two opponents within District 23-4A last week.
Both games were played on the road but there were no homesick feelings as Sealy took down Rice, 4-1, on Monday and beat Stafford, 3-0, on Friday.
Destinee Castillo factored into the scoring efforts in both games, registering a pair of goals in the district-opening win over Rice where Daniela Acosta was responsible for scoring the other two goals. Castillo found the back of the net once against Stafford and Valerie Villagomez took care of the rest, netting two goals to lift the Lady Tigers.
The key to the game in the eyes of head coach Adrian Rocha was the camaraderie shown throughout the game.
“The communication and really seeing that they can work together and that’s what we’ve been working for,” Rocha said. “We’ve been working together; we really want it and that’s what really helped us win those two games.”
He also credited the pre-district schedule for preparing the team for the roller coaster ride that will be their district slate.
“Just getting the key points of working together, they started to see that it takes hard work and the pre-season games really helped,” Rocha said Monday night following Sealy’s first loss in district play, 3-2 to the Needville Lady Jays.
The Lady Tigers traveled to Needville for a contest with the Lady Jays who checked in at No. 13 in the Texas Girls’ Coaches Association poll this week. At the halftime break, it was Sealy who owned a lead.
“Our girls played really well, they played great in the first half,” Rocha said. “They were pressuring, communicating, moving, they really wanted it.”
It was the second half that was the difference-maker, however, as the Lady Tigers surrendered their lead despite the coach’s pleas to fight complacency. Needville ultimately won by a 3-2 margin to extend a winning streak over Sealy to eight games dating back to the 2015-2016 season.
“The second half comes, and we thought we won. I told them, ‘Don’t count the victory,’ but apparently they had already counted the victory,” Rocha explained. “The defense let down, got over-confident, stopped communicating, stopped going to the ball. Just little mistakes and then the wind was our enemy in the second half; we’d go to kick it one way and the wind would just blow it back where it came from.”
Still, that lead against a quality team will go a long way in building the confidence of this young Lady Tiger squad.
“Our girls did an amazing job. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It just really hurts because they’re beatable,” Rocha said of Needville. “They’re seeing that it can happen, they’re seeing that they’re capable of working as a team because that’s the only thing that’s going to get us together. That’s the only thing that will get us to beat these big teams in these big games.”
With the rest of this week off, the team will take advantage of the practice time they have.
“We’re going to keep working on passes, going toward the ball, movement; that was a big thing (against Needville), we had really good movement in the first half, they really hustled,” Rocha said. “The thing I hate is that we get the bad side and play Friday and then again on Monday. We can’t do anything on the weekends because of the UIL rules so it’s really a bad spot to play on Mondays because we don’t have any time to recuperate, we don’t have any time to talk or practice.”
Coming out of the bye, Sealy will travel to Brookshire Royal for its Monday contest before hosting Fulshear Friday evening in the penultimate game of round one.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Needville, it doesn’t matter if it’s Fulshear, it can happen. There’s hope,” Rocha said. “They saw the excitement; they saw the experience coming out, so the biggest thing was getting that feeling of winning and that they are winners. It’s just working together, that’s the big thing and that’s what I wanted to work toward during the pre-season and now we’re here and it’s paying off.”