Lady Flyers look to earn berth to TAPPS state tournament
By BY WILL BROWN - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
March 4, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated March 3, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.
If someone gave the St. Joseph girls soccer team members enough time, they would share all sorts of stories about their off-the-field adventures this season.
Whether it's the time they were stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol after a game in Pharr or the tale about how they have become fans of a recently canceled teen drama on television, they are an intimate group.
One story the Lady Flyers (13-4) would love to tell is how they made the state tournament.
If they want to do that, they must find a way past San Antonio Christian in a TAPPS Division II regional final Tuesday. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. in College Station.
San Antonio Christian (22-6-1) is responsible for two of the Lady Flyers' losses this season.
"(Tuesday) will be a close game, so we can't go in all cocky," said St. Joseph senior Ally Lozano. "We have to stay focused on the game and give it our all because (Tuesday) may be our last game, and it may not."
The aggregate score in the two games this season was 6-0. St. Joseph lost 5-0 in San Antonio while Christian's Emily Duke scored the only goal in a 1-0 win in Victoria on Feb. 5.
"Both times we played them we didn't score," said St. Joseph head coach Vicki Sontheimer. "Capitalizing on opportunities to score will be big. Hopefully, we get opportunities to score."
Tuesday's game will be played at Ellis Field on the campus of Texas A&M University, which adds an extra element of excitement for seniors Amanda Groenhuyzen and Annie Gilliam, both of who will be Aggies this fall.
Gilliam said Tuesday's opponents have a dynamic duo who routinely switch between playing midfield and playing up top during the course of the game. Though Gilliam didn't know the names of the two culprits, she almost assuredly was referencing Duke and Miranda Menchaca, who have combined to score 64 goals and add another 30 assists.
"We need to make sure we control them," Gilliam said. "If we control them then we'll be able to control the game."
Gilliam and Lozano said the keys to making the state tournament will be starting stronger from the opening whistle and playing better in the event of adverse weather conditions.
St. Joseph allowed a goal in the first five minutes of Saturday's area round win over Houston Northland Christian. Though the Lady Flyers eventually won 2-1 in overtime, they trailed for more than 70 minutes.
"We have an advantage of losing to them," Gilliam said. "We want to come back and win because we have the ability to win."