East girls, boys sweep West in district showdown
Feb. 9, 2018 at 10:33 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2018 at 11:54 a.m.
Victoria East striker Kyleigh Spree-Kolos credits her offseason training for the early success of her sophomore season.
Spree-Kolos, who leads the team in goals, spent the entire summer honing her skills at the East practice fields to prepare for the upcoming season.
"I had been training a lot," Spree-Kolos said. "Most of my teammates and I have been working really hard together. I believe that's the reason we've improved as a team."
Spree-Kolos quickly gave the Lady Titans a lead they'd never relinquish.
After scoring 20 seconds into the match, Spree-Kolos would later connect on her 12th and 13th goals of the season to complete the hat trick in the Lady Titans' 5-3 District 27-5A win over crosstown rival Victoria West on a rainy Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Spree-Kolos' hat trick was her second of the season. She also added two assists.
"To be honest, I really enjoy playing in the rain," Spree-Kolos said. "The only problem is the touch has to be perfect and it's super slick - especially on the turf."
The Lady Titans (9-5-1, 4-0) and the Warriors (5-4-1, 3-1) began the night as the top two teams in the district.
Since 2010, East and West have met 14 times with East winning 11 of the 13 matchups with two ties.
"We knew this was going to be an awesome game coming in," said East coach Misty Boenig. "I have to give props to West because their style of play is very different from what I've seen in the past. Courtney (King) is doing a great job over there with them, and their organization is phenomenal. This was a very challenging game for both sides."
After Spree-Kolos' first goal, Aysha Izaguirre added the team's second goal from 20 yards out to give East a 2-0 lead.
West senior Zen McKenzie answered with a goal of her own to put the Warriors on the board in the 26th minute of the first half.
"I really have no complaints," said West first-year coach Courtney King. "They all left it all out there and never gave up. Unfortunately, it just wasn't our night. I still have a solid team and we're coming back for it."
With 9:27 left in the first half, East senior captain Gabby Valenzuela scored to give the Lady Titans a commanding 3-1 lead.
West's Vivian Gonzalez, who is coming off back-to-back hat tricks, scored with seven minutes left in the first half to cut the Lady Titans' lead in half.
"We didn't quit and I was proud of my team," Gonzalez said. "We're going to continue the rest of the season trying to come out on top."
Gonzalez scored her second goal from 40 yards out to once again bring West within a goal.
"We're going to work on some things we need to get better at such as passing and getting in better positions on the field," Gonzalez said. "Just the little things that's going to help us win next time."
East goalkeeper Sandra Grifaldo recorded four saves, while Faith Wood and Raegan Gonzalez combined for 19 steals to lead the Lady Titans' defense.
"The touches were hard on the slippery turf, but these girls showed up," Boenig said. "For us to come out on top in a game like this is a big thing for these ladies."
The Warriors continue district play Tuesday against Angleton.
"We're going to continue to work hard," King said. "We still have some things we need to work on, but I think once we get that together, we're going to be ready to come back and win."
The Lady Titans will prepare for Tuesday's district game against Richmond Foster.
"We need to finish strong," Spree-Kolos said. "We're going to be practicing really hard."
Victoria East boys shutout Victoria West
Victoria East remained undefeated in District 27-5A play after defeating crosstown rival Victoria West 3-0 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Titans improved to 12-4-1 overall and 4-0 in district play.
"The crosstown rivalry is always great," said East coach Josh Chaput. "It was a very competitive game with both teams giving it all they had. We played hard, West played hard and we were able to come out on top despite the weather conditions."
Senior captain Abraham Salazar scored four minutes into the game to give East an early 1-0 advantage.
With 14 minutes left in the first half, freshman Joe Aguirre scored to give the Titans a 2-0 lead.
The score remained that way into halftime.
"We want to win this district," Salazar said. "My team's overall performance was more that I could ask for. They made great passes, had great assists and they worked together."
In the second half, the Titans' defense picked up where it left off by controlling their side of the field.
East senior Jordan Daley scored with 15 minutes left in the match to give the Titans a commanding 3-0 lead.
"As a senior, I'm hoping we can win district and stay undefeated," Salazar said. "I think we're the best team in the district this year. I mean, who wouldn't want to win district?"
The Titans (12-4-1, 4-0) continue district play Tuesday against Richmond Foster.
"We still have to move the ball after and shut down some of their key guys," Chaput said. "We'll get ready for them Monday and see what happens. If we continue to play East soccer, things will go our way."
West first-year coach Julio Delgado believes the Warriors (3-9-1, 0-3-1) have what it takes to finish the season on a positive note.
"We're proud of our boys," Delgado said. "They played their heart out and did their best, but East was the better team tonight. Hopefully, we can come back stronger than ever."
After the game, Delgado kept his message to the players simple.
"I let them know it's going to make us better," Delgado said. "We have to take it in and know it's going to help us learn and get better."