East, West boys relish playoff rematches
March 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
The official, and polite, line is both teams have improved since their last meeting. But, deep down the boys soccer programs at Victoria West and Victoria East have to like their chances in their bi-district playoff contests Friday night.
Both games are rematches of regular season contests. The Titans, winners of District 59-4A, will play Kingsville in Corpus Christi. Flour Bluff, winners of District 60-4A, will host the Warriors.
East (15-3-2) branded the Brahmas 4-0 on January 18. Kingsville was not much of a threat that night, mustering just one shot on goal, and that was after the Titans had the game well in hand. Cole Fimbel scored twice that night to lift the Titans to a comfortable win.
"We're not going to let off," said East senior midfielder Casey Brown last week after clinching the district title. "We are going to keep at it working hard, like we do every practice and every day. We're going to be ready for the playoffs. Our next goal is state."
West lost to Flour Bluff 2-1 on January 24. However, one was an own goal, while the other was a goalazo, so they are optimistic they can turn the tide in their second meeting.
"We need to come with the right focus and the right attitude," said West head coach Bill Tally. "This whole year we either finish our opportunities and we score, or we miss the opportunities and we get ourselves in trouble."
Michael Hernandez scored for West in the loss, but the Warriors (11-10-2) have evolved since that time. At the time he was a forward; however, his versatility has led to a move to left back. Hernandez is one of six seniors on the team, five of whom see significant playing time.
Tally reported practices have been more spirited this week as the Warriors look to advance beyond the bi-district round for the first time in school history.
Flour Bluff (16-5-2) will pose quite a challenge in their 14th straight playoff appearance. The Hornets were undefeated in district play and start five seniors, including forward Juan Carlos Hernandez and midfielder Alexis Puga.
Flour Bluff head coach Bobby Chapman does not recall much about that early contest, except for the fact the Warriors were a very tough bunch to defeat.
"I am sure they have improved a lot since then and I would like to think we have too," Chapman said.