The Sealy Tigers varsity soccer team began district play Friday against the Stafford Spartans after going 5-5 in non-district play.
The game started on a sour note as the Spartans scored in the first minute of the game after a defensive collapse.
“It was just bad luck at the beginning and that’s just part of having an inexperienced team with a lot of freshmen,” Head Coach Juan Perez said. “We had the ball and lost it in the back and their guy got it and they scored.”
The Tigers’ effort with the rest of the game was evident with the offense consistently pressuring Stafford but unable to create good shots with their opportunities. Sealy’s defense kept the lead to 1-0 for the first half as they prevented any more breakdowns against the Spartans.
There was a chance for the Tigers as time wound down in the final 30 seconds of the first half with a Stafford penalty but the Tigers were unable to capitalize due to a miscommunication as the clock ran out.
The second half featured a more efficient offense for Sealy as the Tigers began to create good looks including a near-goal in the first two minutes of the half. The team missed another close goal opportunity after a cross by Samuel Ramos resulted in a header that just barely went wide of the goal.
“I changed the formation so we had a few chances and I can’t put the blame on them because a lot of them are freshmen but we need to convert those opportunities,” Perez said.
The Spartans extended their lead with a goal on a free kick that went in after bouncing off one of Sealy’s defenders. The goal pushed the lead to 2-0 and would go on to be the final score of the game.
“We were playing good defense and taking the ball away pretty easy but we need to work on defending against the pass and definitely need to keep working on our communication,” junior keeper David Gomez said. “We’ll definitely improve with more experience because we have that potential.”
That potential was on full display in their next district match against Needville on Monday. The Blue Jays had lost their first match in the district as well so both teams were looking to right the course early in the season.
The Tigers spent nearly the entire game on Needville’s side of the pitch with the offense passing on point and the defense constantly regaining possession. The first score came with just 14 minutes left in the first half on a shot by Ramos.
The defense’s only big mistake of the night came almost exactly 40 seconds later when the Blue Jays took advantage of a breakaway opportunity to tie the game at one.
The first 10 minutes of the second half went without a score but junior Jesus Sanchez-Contreras broke the tie in the 51st minute to put the Tigers up 2-1. Ricardo Avila added another score 17 minutes later to stretch Sealy’s lead to 3-1. The score would go on to be final.
“Our mids played incredibly well with good passing vision and keeping possession of the ball and these early matches are really important because if we lose two consecutive games, that feeling will drag on us,” Perez said. “The defense has little experience so we just need to learn that breakaways like that can’t happen.”
The Tigers’ next match will be on the road against Royal on Friday.