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Warriors clinch co-district title (w/video)

By Keldy Ortiz
March 10, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated March 9, 2014 at 10:10 p.m.

The Victoria West Warriors celebrate after winning 1-0 against the Victoria East Titans  Monday night at Memorial Stadium.

Four years ago, Victoria West came into existence with coach Billy Tally at the helm for boy's soccer.

Roberto Torres was one of those original players that first year, along with six other seniors who played Monday.

When Monday's game finished against crosstown rival Victoria East (5-5-1), and the Warriors (14-2-5, 7-1-3) were victorious - winning 1-0 - the team claimed a share of the District 59-4A championship.

Gregory-Portland (11-4-5, 6-2-3) shares the top district seed with West, after its 1-0 loss to Corpus Christi Ray on Monday.

It's the second consecutive district title in the last four years for the Warriors.

"We not only beat our rivals, we got district," Torres said. "Our coach texted us today; we had to win to be district champs again. That's all we had on our mind today."

Claiming the tile as district champs is a moment Tally will savor, and it was special to achieve one part of their goal with this group.

"It puts a bow on everything," Tally said. "Starting a new program with so many of those freshmen and for them to come all the way, achieve goals. It's not like, of course, we'd love to go to state, but realistically, that's a long journey. District was extra special."

At the closing minutes of the game, the Titans had a chance to score while Victoria West goalkeeper Hunter Elder was down momentarily. The Warriors were already up 1-0.

"My heart dropped," Torres, a senior, said. "I thought we were tied; (Jose) Canales kicked it out, and it hit the post."

Luckily for Torres, who scored the game's only goal in the first half, his heart stayed in place - the ball hit the post.

"I was really worried," Elder said about the Titans' near tying goal. "But now, I know 100 percent, I can count on my defense."

For the Titans, Monday's loss put them in a position in which losing another game could hurt their chances of making it to the postseason.

Titans coach Bobby Ramos believes the team will rebound from the defeat.

"You learn about yourself as a man after a hard loss than you will after a big win," Ramos said. "As bad as it stings right now, you'll learn more about yourself and about your character than you will had you come back, pulled away and done something miraculous."

Now that the Warriors fulfilled one part of their goal, another task remains. Torres said the team looks forward to the next chapter.

"Going far in playoffs," Torres said. "That's the next thing. That's the next big thing for us."

Victoria East 1, Victoria West 1

Even down 1-0 to crosstown rival Victoria East, James McCarter knows no lead is safe.

That's what the Victoria West coach told his players at halftime, and with that in mind, West secured a 1-1 tie Monday night.

"They know how soccer goes," McCarter said. "You can play all night long, and one play changes the game, and so we said we're going to go out and try to get one early and continue to play."

The equalizer for West (11-3-5, 5-2-4) came off the feet of Anhila Rocha in the second half. East's Rachel Mansker scored the game's first goal in the first half. Elizabeth DiSanto finished with 15 saves for West.

"We knew that was a dangerous area," said Lady Titan coach Misty Boenig about West's goal scored inside the 20-yard-line. "One of our game plans was just try and not give a direct kick right outside the 18, and unfortunately, it happened. They executed on it."

The tie for East (14-4-1, 8-2-1) was their first of the season. They still, however, remain focused on their task of performing well in the playoffs.

"Every game, we try to learn something from it," Boenig said. "We'll see where we could have made some technical changes, and we'll start on those things and better ourselves for playoffs."

For West, they'll take the tie and enjoy the moment.

"It's spring break; the girls will celebrate a little bit," McCarter said. "This is big for them because they're all friends. But they know (Gregory-Portland) is an important game."

West will play Gregory-Portland March 18 in Portland, while East will take on Miller at home.

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