Vital’s hat trick downs Wharton

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In the first game back at T.J. Mills Stadium, the Lady Tigers made themselves right at home by spending nearly the entire game in their offensive zone.

The visiting Lady Tigers of Wharton could do little to stifle the attack led by Sealy’s senior captain, Jess Vital, and found themselves trailing early.

By the time Vital’s first goal went in, it was already her third shot on net in just over 12 minutes of play to begin the game and that was only the start.

A majority of the next 20 minutes were spent on that same half of field, with shots flying at the goaltender from every angle.

The second goal of the group took a more methodical approach as the ball found its way to Vital again and she weaved her way through two Tiger defenders and lifted her shot outside of the reach of the keeper to extend the lead with just under six minutes remaining in the first half.

After the game, Vital couldn’t help but give credit to her teammates for feeding her all of those passes that allowed her to do what she does best in close to lead the hosts to victory.

“It wasn’t just me it was my team, they helped me through it and gave me the looks I needed,” Vital said. “It was good teamwork if one scores, we all score,” she added, echoing her head coach’s mantra.

Adrian Rocha, the man at the helm of the program, jokingly described his senior captain as being thickheaded sometimes but when she does listen to him, the ball seemingly finds the back of the net.

“She’s a great player and sometimes I just need to keep pushing her through,” Rocha said. “She broke her leg not long ago but I keep reminding her she’s past that and to just go out and play. When she finally did that tonight, you saw the results.”

But it was, of course, a full-team effort that was needed although Rocha’s goalkeeper was barely used over all 80 minutes.

Senior Andrea Grimaldo spent about a minute of game time worrying about an impending attack but ended the game without facing a clear shot on goal.

Rocha confirmed her services were not necessarily needed tonight but it started with the defense that stymied Wharton’s attack.

“It was good to see that we can play to that level and shut a team down like we did,” the coach said. “It will only prepare us for when we see stronger attacks in our district play which is already coming up soon.”

Before then came the rest of this non-district showdown against another team of Tigers and Vital made sure to maintain the score-gap and put a bow on her hat trick.

The final was a little easier as Vital was set up with a free kick after a Wharton handball in the box and she left no doubt, placing a shot high and to the outside, not even yielding much of an effort from the goaltender who knew she was beaten right away.

Going into the halftime break with a 3-0 advantage left little for Rocha to say to his squad but just to keep things up which they were able to do with another insurance goal, this one from one of his many underclassmen.

It was freshman Destinee Castillo that found the back of the net that surely sealed the deal with the final 26:45 playing out squarely to secure the second win on the season and the first back in their home den.

Rocha added that it was good to be able to take care of business at your own place, another sentiment echoed by Vital.

“I’m happy we won since it was our first home game,” Vital mentioned. “So that’s good we showed everyone what we can do and we just need to keep it rolling.”

In her last time in the black and gold her aims are set to finish with a good enough record to be positioned well for a deep postseason run to end things with a bang in her career at Sealy High.

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