UHV soccer teams eager for AII tournament
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Friday's soccer match is such a big one for the University of Houston-Victoria women's soccer program that the Jaguars actually took a flight to make the game.
The Jaguars (7-10) play No. 15 Cal State-San Marcos in the semifinals of the Association of Independent Institutions tournament Friday afternoon - in San Marcos, Calif.
It's the first time the Jaguars have qualified for the conference tournament. It's also the first time all season they have taken a flight for a game. What the Jaguars hope is their first postseason match is not their last of the year.
"If we all play with our hearts, I think we can win," said sophomore defender Arielle McGillis. "If we concentrate on the fundamentals, like the passing and the little stuff, then we can pull out the win."
Entering the match, UHV has won three of its last four matches. Not only have the Jaguars won, in October, something they couldn't pull off in the first two years of the program, they are playing some of best soccer in the process.
"You're facing really good teams," said UHV head coach Adrian Rigby. "No one is an easy game. If we can play how we played against Texas A&M-International, we'll find a little bit of success. It comes down to finishing the chances we do get. We're not going to be able to get too many chances. We have to be able to take them."
The Cougars (10-4-3) have allowed 14 goals in 16 matches this year. But, they have a 2-2-1 record in their last five games, excluding a forfeit victory over Bethesda.
Jaguars central defender Cassie Lane may be the only one who has experience in a setting similar to the one UHV will face Friday when she played for Our Lady of the Lake in 2010. Lane said it's the most rewarding feeling to play for a conference crown.
"This year it's all just one team and we have one goal in mind, we want to win," Lane said. "We might not have had the best of games sometimes, but at the end of the day we came back the next day, practiced hard and played hard in our next game. Look where we are now, going to California."
If the Jaguars win, they will play the winner of Ashford and Jamestown College Saturday afternoon for the AII championship.
UHV MEN, TAKE ON POTENT JAMESTOWN COLLEGE
Jade Johnson and George Gauld have a combined 20 goals and 10 assists for Jamestown College this soccer season.
Needless to say, the UHV defense will have its hands full trying to stop the two forwards in the men's semifinals of the Association of Independent Institutions tournament Friday.
"I feel confident," said UHV head coach Adrian Rigby. "We had a real sharp training session (Wednesday.) They have come out, they have some maturity and they know how to handle some situations. Anytime you have some guys who can put the ball in the back of the net, you have to know where they are at all times. . For them, it's going to be another strong game for them."
UHV (9-7) has won four straight matches, three of which were via shutout. Until an Oct. 14 win over Texas Lutheran the Jaguars had allowed goals in eight straight games, the longest such streak in school history.
Rigby said his team is rounding into fitness at just the right time as they face the Jimmies (14-4-0). Should the Jaguars win, they would play either Ashford or hosts Cal State-San Marcos for the A.I.I. title Saturday.
"We probably have more depth right now than we've had all year," Rigby said. "Everyone, right now is ready to go. It should be a strong roster that we put out there against those guys."