East, West open tournament in similar fashion (Video)

Jan. 13, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2012 at 7:13 p.m.

Victoria West goalkeeper Shelbey Cade makes a diving save during penalty kicks against the Houston St. Agnes JV on Friday. The Warriors won in penalty kicks, 3-2.

Victoria West goalkeeper Shelbey Cade makes a diving save during penalty kicks against the Houston St. Agnes JV on Friday. The Warriors won in penalty kicks, 3-2.

People find motivation in the strangest places.

For the girls soccer teams at Victoria West and Victoria East it was far simpler than that: neither wanted to play three games on the first day of the season.

To do so, the Warriors and Titans had to win their first two games of the VISD Crossroads Classic Friday.

Sure enough, both teams did, using commanding afternoon victories to get the 2012 season started with goals galore. West topped a pair of TAPPS schools in the junior varsity from Houston St. Agnes and the top squad from Houston Incarnate Word. East defeated Calallen 2-0 before blowing out Rosenberg Terry 4-0 later in the day.

Further fleshing out the similarities between the two programs, their opponents praised the two Victoria schools for their ability to possess the ball and sustain attacks. Both schools were sparked by underclassmen.

West freshman Anhila Rocha started her career in style with a hat trick in a 5-1 victory over Houston Incarnate Word.

It was the first time the usual central midfielder was deployed as forward in a competitive game. Prior to Rocha's outburst, sophomore Sarah Warner scored twice in regulation, and converted the only goal, in the Warriors 3-2 shootout victory over the St. Agnes JV.

"I don't think we thought that we would (succeed) ourselves," shrugged West sophomore Sarah Warner, who was excited her team didn't have to play thrice. "We all came out and played our hardest. Once we got a goal it motivated us. It gave us hope."

Rocha's second goal, which was created on a perfectly weighted through ball from senior Bryana Frazier, exhibited the brand of soccer the Warriors would like to play this year. Frazier's direct running toward the defenders attracted on of the Falcons, as soon as she committed she slotted a pass directly in the path of the running Rocha, who took two touches and finished.

"The two forwards we have now are usually wings. The first time I played I just wanted to play something new. My sister, Nori, told me to try something new. I told coach (James) McCarter I wanted to try something new, I did and I liked it."

West advances to play District 59-4A rival Gregory-Portland Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium. Victoria East will play Fort Bend Austin immediately after the West game concludes.

Titans roll in tourney openers

East entered this season-opening tournament wanting to attack more than it did in 2011.

Sophomore captain Rachel Mansker provided a statement of intent 30 seconds into the Titans game against Calallen when her shot blazed over the crossbar.

The Lady Wildcats were not as fortunate a minute later. Mansker unleashed a 30-yard rocket into the side netting in the second minute of the game to give East a 1-0 lead. The Titans secured the win in the 56th minute when Maria Grifaldo pushed Jahnae Mata's cross beneath the Calallen goalkeeper for the second goal.

Mansker said great freshmen, plus great attitude and higher expectations were the reasons for the Titans' two victories. Mata is one of six freshmen on the Titans varsity, and all day Friday the winger caused problems for defenders.

"I applaud the freshmen for coming in here, not being scared and telling us what's on their minds," Mansker said. "Even though we're upperclassmen, they have come in here, contributed, and told us how they would play."

In all East had 20 shots, nine of which were on target. However, Mata's humility afterward might be the biggest indicator that VISD tournament might be the foundation for bigger things within the Titans girls soccer program.

"I'm a player and I'm just helping out," said Mata about her assist. "I don't want to think big of myself. It's a team effort, because if it were one person we wouldn't be able to do much."

Gregory-Portland 3, St. Joseph 1

The Lady Flyers two leading scorers combined for a late goal to help St. Joseph avoid a shutout in their opening game for St. Joseph.

Amanda Groenhuyzen scored in the 75th minute on an assist from Nicole Sontheimer; however, it was not enough for the Lady Flyers to avoid falling to Gregory-Portland.

St. Joseph 3, Bay City 0

The Lady Flyers recorded their first shutout of the year, as they thwarted Bay City in a consolation bracket contest.

Defenders Morgan Barker, Annie Gilliam, and Kristin Sontheimer as well as stopper Ally Lozano helped St. Joseph beat Bay City 3-0. Amanda Groenhuyzen scored a hat trick take care of the scoring.

Earlier in the day, Groenhuyzen and Nicole Sontheimer limped off in a loss against Gregory-Portland, forcing the Lady Flyers to play with just nine girls.

Those minor injuries didn't stop the latter from feeding two assists to the Lady Flyers offensive focal point. Alexa Garza assisted Groenhuyzen's first goal.

"I think it will give them a lot of confidence," said St. Joseph coach Vicki Sontheimer of her team's third victory of the season. "They see that they can come against these other teams and they can do well. They are excited about winning and moving forward."



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