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Alumni scrimmage prepares Titans for upcoming season

By Victoria Advocate
Dec. 29, 2011 at 6:29 a.m.
Updated Dec. 30, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.

Austin Allen, 11, gives 2011 alumna Karly Wilson a hug before the start of the Victoria East alumni game Thursday at Memorial Stadium. Wilson was the coach of Austin's youth soccer team and he was working as a ball boy for the game.ANGELI WRIGHT/AWRIGHT@VICAD.COM

Lance Rosenquest and David Whitworth are old enough to remember when the backpass rule was installed.

They were in high school.

That little bit of history didn't stop either from playing in the Victoria East alumni soccer game Thursday night at Memorial Stadium. Rosenquest, 36, even added a pair of assists as the alumni beat the 2012 Titans 5-1.

The backpass rule was installed in the early 90s after a highly defensive 1990 World Cup led to a handful of rules that eliminated time-wasting and other negative tactics.

"The second half, it was much better than the first," said Rosenquest laughing about the period where all six goals were scored. "That's when the game is fun. When you are not trying to move the ball around and trying to dribble the whole time. It was a game, we were playing good ball. Although, I do think that we had some of their subs in."

Whitworth graduated from Edna. But, he grew up in Victoria, played soccer here and even encouraged Rosenquest to give the sport a try when they were in high school. The two live in Austin and play on an over-30 team named the Hooligans.

Rosenquest has continued to play since his Victoria High days, while Whitworth took a decade off before getting back into the game a few years ago.

The men's alumni whitewashing was one of two games. In the opener, the Victoria East varsity used a pair of goals from Kirsten Haun, including one with seven minutes remaining, to beat their alumni 2-1.

Considering the brief history of Victoria East, the game was open to anyone who played varsity soccer in Victoria, whether they attended Victoria, Stroman, Memorial or West high schools.

Of the 53 players (31 men, 22 women) who took the field, only three pre-dated the consolidation of Victoria and Stroman. The third was Angela Dobbins, a 1998 graduate who only played because her sister, Bernie Cavazos, encouraged her to spend her vacation on a soccer field.

"It was nice. It's been a long time," Cavazos said. "She was the one I learned a lot from when I was younger, so it was nice to play with her.'

These days, Dobbins lives in West Virginia, but was home on a 10-day holiday. On Aug. 26, the family welcomed their first child. Thursday's game was the first time the former defender took to the field in two years, and the first in about a year doing something as strenuous as soccer.

"I feel how old I am," Dobbins said laughing. "My mind is saying one thing and my legs are barely going."

Cavazos is nine years younger than her sister, meaning there were few opportunities to the two to play together.

Dobbins played maybe 20 minutes, spread across both halves. However, her run out in the second half allowed older sister to be a left back, while younger sibling was in her preferred midfield position.

Both alumni coaches tried to let the athletes play with their friends or with those they specifically asked to play with.

"Everyone knew they were not in shape," said Tina Montelongo, a 2009 graduate who coached the alumni because a shredded knee prevented her from playing. "It would have been good if we would have won, but we knew the chances of winning were kind of slim compared to everyone's athleticism."

For the men, there was little surprise 2004 Memorial graduate, and current St. Joseph coach, Omar Amaral was the one who spearheaded the management and rotations. Whitworth and Rosenquest might have been off the field when time expired, but the men's alumni were able to finish the game in style.

Alexis Salazar and Mike Bucek were captains on the 2006 team. The two begged and pleaded their way back onto the field in the final seconds. This was after Bucek wiped off Salazar's cleats when the former entered the match for Salazar after the former forward scored two goals.

The men strung together seven or eight passes moving from their own half into the varsity's penalty area. The varsity temporarily dispossessed their predecessors, but Colton Siler struck a right-footed shot into the side netting to finish off the scoring.

Once it was apparent the men's alumni were going to win, they began to devise celebrations and elaborate ways of trying to score.

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