SOCCER SEASON IN REVIEW: Conversations committed to memory
April 12, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2012 at 11:13 p.m.
The conversations are what will come to mind.
There were a few exciting varsity soccer games in the area. But, the conversations were more memorable because it highlighted just how much soccer is a part of this community.
When Bay City beat Victoria West 5-1 back in January, Lady Cats head coach Darin Dabelgott noted how No. 18 for West was also a pretty good player last year.
When I told him he was certainly mistaken because No. 18 - Anhila Rocha - was a freshman, Dabelgott was speechless.
That same night, Dabelgott mentioned how he thought his 2012 team had the talent to finally top Brazosport and Angleton for the District 47-4A championship. He was right, as Bay City swept to a 9-0-1 district record.
He also added Rocha was going to be a good player, if she isn't already. And the Coach of the Year in District 47-4A was correct again because Rocha scored 30 goals with seven assists.
Speaking of freshman, watch out for Victoria East. The Titans had six freshmen on the varsity this year, but still made the area round of the playoffs.
Morgan Wyatt, Kendyl Charbula, Jahnae Mata and the rest will only improve with experience. The two sophomores on the 2012 team were arguably two of their most important players in co-captain Rachel Mansker and goalie Kelsey Ferry.
Two years from now Misty Boenig is going to have a juggernaut on her hands. It's an opinion a few people in youth soccer circles shared with me during the season.
As the season wore on, people were seeking my opinion almost as much as I was theirs. During the second half of District 59-4A play, I sat with the West boys team because some of them were enamored with what the "Cruz Azul goalie" was documenting.
West boys soccer coach Bill Tally encourages his players to play in the local men's league so they can improve. It was during one of those games, I ran into Warrior forward Hector Mendoza.
(And by run into, I mean Hector was a forward and I was a goalie for a team called Cruz Azul who kept frustrating him.)
On the sidelines was Warriors goalie Juan "Juanito" Gonzalez holding court with his friends.
"Hey Tim Howard, can I get your autograph?" Gonzalez yelled my way in front of his friends.
My snarky response: "I saw you in the newspaper. I'm trying to get your autograph."
The West goalie, whose on-field play and antics are equally entertaining, still gets a playful ribbing from his friends about the incident.
Another player prone to backing up his talk with on-field action was East's Casey Brown. One never really knew what the ginger-haired midfielder was going to say, but it was fun to watch him, and the rest of the East midfield play, and then listen to Casey's thoughts.
Brown and his teammates were crushed earlier this week when they lost in a regional quarterfinal match to a spectacular Pharr Valley View team.
No matter how much others want to remember on discuss ad nauseum the postgame brawl against San Antonio Harlandale on April 5, the fact remains the Titans had a spectacular season.
East finished with an 18-4-2 record and won the District 59-4A championship. They advanced further than any Victoria soccer team in more than a decade.
"This is the best team I have every coached because they overachieved," head coach Tim Eaton said of a 2012 team where 13 games were decided by one goal or less. "If you look at the scores and how close they were, it just shows a lot of character."
On the topic of character, Palacios soccer coach James Overton could stop gushing about the attitude and work ethic of his eight seniors.
Palacios may have finished 6-10-3 on the season, but they are one of the smallest schools in the University Interscholastic League that fields a soccer team. The Sharks made the playoffs for the third time in four years, before losing to Richmond Foster 2-0 in the bi-district round.
"The kids that we get they work hard and they have good attitudes," Overton said on March 26. "When you have good kids, you are going to have success here and there. Great athletes don't always mean success."
If there is one thing I learned from my conversations this soccer season, Overton's comment applies across the Crossroads.
Will Brown is a sports reporter for the Victoria Advocate.