Dynamic duo gives Lady Flyers punch
Jan. 15, 2012 at 5 a.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2012 at 7:15 p.m.
It would be unfair to say the St. Joseph soccer team is comprised of two people.
It might be unfair.
But, it's probably something opposing coaches mutter to themselves after watching Nicole Sontheimer and Amanda Groenhuyzen form a devastatingly dynamic duo in attack.
Groenhuyzen scored nine goals during four games at the Crossroads Classic, while her midfield partner scored two goals and assisted five of Amanda's goals over the weekend. St. Joseph won three out of four games to take the consolation half of the bracket.
The final game was a 5-1 victory Saturday afternoon over Houston Incarnate Word to end the two-day tournament in style.
Groenhuyzen, pronounced Groon-hoy-sin, is a forward, but she has played with Sontheimer for so long that the two juniors occasionally switch positions on the fly. Their instinctive play is rooted in the fact the two have played together since elementary school, and still take the field together for a local club soccer team.
Amanda was named to the All-Tournament team for her exploits, but added Nicole should "definitely have one. I think she deserves half."
"In fourth grade they played against each other. When Amanda showed up for the first day of practice in fifth grade she said 'Yes! That girl is going to be on my team.'" Amanda's mother Cris recalled. "Since fifth grade, they have played two seasons a year, sometimes in high school and summer tournaments."
Entering the tournament St. Joseph had lost five of seven games on the season. But the pair phonetically challenging surnames, as well as a resolute defense, allowed the team with the least depth in the tournament to win three of four contests.
"We do a good job of working together. There are some teams that ma play better, but we are a family. We bond and we communicate. Our defense did a fantastic job keeping them from scoring."
That connection, as well as the play of defenders Morgan Barker, Annie Gilliam, and Kristin Sontheimer, Ally Lozano and goalkeeper Anna Samples allowed the Lady Flyers to allow three goals over the final three games of the tournament, after Gregory-Portland beat the Lady Flyers 3-1 in the opener.
St. Joseph defeated the junior varsity from Houston St. Agnes in a shootout Saturday morning to set up its consolation game with Houston Incarnate Word hours later. The Flyers led their morning contest 2-0 before pulling it out late. There were no such problems in the afternoon session.
Groenhuyzen scored four goals to help the Flyers to a 4-1 lead. Nicole Sontheimer assisted Amanda's third goal, while her younger sister Kristin assisted Amanda's fourth goal with eight minutes remaining.
Incarnate Word had a goal-scoring wizard of its own in junior Carina Salcedo. The midfielder scored four of the Falcons five goals in the tournament, including their only goal of the St. Joseph game in the 57th minute.
Incarnate Word head coach Henry Barrios said his teams tiredness, as well as the potency of the Lady Flyers, led him to tweak his system into one that is more attacking. He said it didn't work in part because Groenhuyzen and Sontheimer are too skilled.
"They had good height. Both are technically sound," Barrios said of the St. Joseph pair. "They could shake off people easily. They have good field vision, that's what' makes them dangerous."
Gregory-Portland 3, Victoria West 0
Hannah McWilliams cemented her place as Offensive MVP of the Crossroads Classic when her two second half goals helped Gregory-Portland beat District 59-4A rivals Victoria West Saturday morning.
The senior forward scored in the 51st minute, as well as the 66th minute to help the Lady Wildcats advance to the finals of the 12-team tournament. Gregory-Portland led 1-0 at halftime courtesy of Brittney Gonzales' goal.
Gregory-Portland head coach Jaclyn Vasquez said this is the first year she has used McWilliams on the front line, as she was previously a goalkeeper and midfielder. McWilliams' morning brace gave her five goals for the tournament.
"To me it's tournament play," said West soccer coach James McCarter about the contest. "It's not any more important than any other game. It would be nice to see them to get a preview of district. They are certainly a quality program, so it's nice to see where we stand."
Fort Bend Austin JV 2, Victoria East 1
One team scored 13 goals in the first two games of their season, while the other had yet to score. Something had to give Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately for the Victoria East girls soccer program it was their scoreless streak.
Rachel Mansker gave the Titans a lead in the sixth minute, but the Titans could not contain the speed of Bulldogs forward Sedoo Ijir. East goalkeeper Kelsey Ferry was not troubled in the first 25 minutes of the match, but Ijir changed that with her pace and direct running.
"That goal helped us when it forced us to step up our offense," said Austin coach Paige Tomlin. "This game was more of a challenge that the previous two we played."
In the 28th minute Ijir got behind the Titans defense before unleashing a right-footed shot. Ferry originally spilled the ball, but was able to recover. East was not that fortunate seven minutes later when Ijir got loose.
Ijir poked the ball past the onrushing Ferry. The ball was heading goalward when East's Elvira Grifaldo tried to kick the ball to safety. Grifaldo couldn't and the first goal the Titans allowed all season was an own goal.
Ijir scored with 15 minutes remaining to segregate the teams and hand the Titans their first loss of 2012.