Sealy sweeps Columbus to close round one

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The Sealy soccer clubs both took down the Columbus Cardinals on Mark A. Chapman Field at T.J. Mills Stadium Monday night to finish the first round of play in District 23-4A.

The Lady Tigers started the doubleheader with a 3-0 win, getting one goal from senior Trinity Hall and two from junior Destinee Castillo as well as a clean sheet from sophomore goalkeeper Hailey Arteaga.

The Tigers followed that up with a 1-0 win where junior Ricky Avila scored 2:38 into the second half and the defenses took care of the rest although Sealy’s keeper, senior Kevin Rodriguez, was the one to register the shutout.

The girls moved to 4-2 after playing their district opponents once and reside in third place behind Fulshear and Needville, who sit at No. 8 and No. 18 respectively in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Poll.

That jockeying for position is exactly what head coach Adrian Rocha and the Lady Tigers are using, citing a dissatisfaction toward finishing in third place.

“One of our goals is ‘Not third but second,’” Rocha explained. “We’re tired of being third, we’re tired of getting stuck there and as of now we’re still there. But I feel confident ending the first round being that the Needville game was an amazing game. It was something that we needed to get to and (redemption) will be our ultimate goal. I know they will be ready for (the rematch) too but we’re going to bring it all to get that second spot.”

That push will have to be made without last year’s district co-MVP Sofia Olvera, who recently suffered a torn ACL and will be sidelined for the remainder of the year. Stepping up in her place has been sophomore Hailey Arteaga and senior Sophia Villagomez.

On the boys’ side, Sealy improved to 2-4 to close the first round but sits alone in fifth place, just outside the playoff picture in District 23. First-place Royal was MaxPrep’s third-ranked team in 4A last week while second and third place Fulshear and Stafford checked in at back-to-back spots at No. 22 and No. 23.

The Tigers’ offense was able to manage only one goal in Monday’s win over Columbus and head coach Juan Perez is looking forward to a fresh start with round two of district set to begin Friday evening against Rice Consolidated.

“Regroup; that’s what I said, we need to start all over again and try to do something better for the next game,” Perez said.

“It’s just the little thing that can take us from a good team to a great team and it starts with the defense,” said assistant coach Chris Guadarrama. “Like he told me when I first got here, defense wins championships. So, I think we need to regroup everyone on the defense and re-communicate what their jobs and roles are once a center back comes in, just some communication and confidence.”

In addition to that, the Tigers will be equipped with the knowledge from the first meetings and will be able to react better to the opposing offense.

“We have to run the table,” Guadarrama added. “Like I told the boys, we figured out the teams, we just need to shut down the middle of the field … I think this win is definitely going to help us; our forwards got going, we got Ricky to score and now we just need to get Amador Lopez a goal and build up from there.”

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