Victoria East downs SA McCollum in repeat of 2013 area playoff game (w/video, gallery)
BY JULIE GARCIA - JGARCIA@VICAD.COM
March 28, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.
Updated March 27, 2014 at 10:28 p.m.
SEGUIN - Victoria East coach Misty Boenig said the Lady Titan bench may look small, but it's never-ending.
The difference in team depth was evident Friday night when the Lady Titans (17-4-1) defeated San Antonio McCollum 2-1 in the Class 4A, Region IV area soccer game.
"Especially this far into the season, the players take a lot of heat on their body," Boenig said. "But it always seems to work out; this team is phenomenal with rolling with the punches."
Even when two East captains were sidelined with minor injuries and there was 13 minutes left to play, the pace didn't change.
"The girls definitely stepped up," she said. "The kids rallied together and kept the game going on despite that."
East defeated McCollum in a near deja vu of the area round game last season when the Titans defeated the same team in the same stadium with the same score, 2-1.
East lit up the scoreboard early in the game, with junior Madison Hawkins scoring the first goal off an assist by Jahnae Mata at the two-minute mark.
Senior Rachel Mansker said that being able to find each other's feet is a strength of the Lady Titans.
"We have good passing and communicating with each other on where we're going to be," Mansker said.
East had opportunities to score throughout the game but were skirted off by the Cowboy defense that featured a goalkeeper with a strong kick.
Though they had played McCollum last season, the Lady Titans were unsure about their opponent going into Friday's game.
Sophomore Lauren Rangnow was surprised by their speed but responded to that with some speed of her own.
Rangnow, along with the other wings, put up a staunch wall of defense, which was nearly impenetrable by the Cowboys.
That is until McCollum's Miranda Moreno scored a quick, high goal that tied the game 1-1 eight minutes before halftime.
"Every team will be better as we go deeper in the playoffs," Mansker said about future opponents. "We have to know during the game to adjust, be more aware and be on guard."
The Lady Titans returned to the field with an increased intensity in the second half, focusing their kicks and aiming lower in the net.
With 17 minutes left in the game, the ball hit the back of the net after Mansker kicked in the game-winning goal with an assist by Vicky Rojas.
"The girls have that type of attitude: They don't get down and don't let anyone stop them from getting what they want," Boenig said.
East goalkeeper Kelsey Ferry has recorded multiple shutouts in goal throughout the season, including Tuesday's playoff-opening win against Laredo Martin. After Friday's game, Ferry asked Boenig how much she missed the ball by, which displays her commitment to get better for next time.
"The key is having kids who truly want to be out there and who love this sport," Boenig said.
East will face Flour Bluff in the sectional round next week.
This year's Class 4A playoff bracket has been made up of many of the same teams from last year, but Boenig makes a point to not look past the next opponent.
"We gotta take care of Flour Bluff first before looking ahead," Boenig said.
And the team is ready.
"We played them last year and in preseason this year," Mansker said. "They're a good team, so we just need to focus on our plays and continue to play our game."