Despite locking up the third seed and a playoff spot in District 25-4A, the Sealy Lady Tiger soccer team and head coach Adrian Rocha will never know if they would have been able to avenge last year’s loss to Brazosport in the final 1:18 of the bi-district matchup.
Still, the Lady Tigers had 16 representatives make all-district teams, as voted on by the other coaches in the district, and had seven more earn academic all-district distinction but Rocha said he and the team have mixed feelings about the season ending the way it did in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic.
“I wanted to see what was going to happen in that playoff game,” Rocha said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon. “We were really wanting to know if we would be able to go to the second round. They were capable of it because as the season progressed, they were getting stronger. I think we’re left with what could have been, but at the same time, we feel satisfied.”
Sealy ended the 2020 season at 5-3 in district, losing only to the top two teams (Needville twice and Fulshear) and Rocha accredited much of the success to the performance of his seniors, many of whom were recognized on the all-district lists.
“I think the seniors really represented their class; they're hard working, they knew the expectations that we wanted,” Rocha said. “For them to be recognized with those awards was very well worth it, they deserved more than 100%.”
When asked of what they leave behind for the next era of Lady Tiger soccer, Rocha said, “They leave a lot of memories; this was their team, this was their sport, and they're gonna do whatever they can in the future to keep those memories alive and hopefully some of them will be there to be an example to the future girls coming up.”
The Sealy girls’ soccer squad had three student-athletes on both the all-district first and second teams, 10 on the all-district honorable mention list and seven more earned academic all-district honors.
Jennifer Maldonado was the lone senior on the all-district second team and three of the 10 all-district honorable mentions were seniors in Angela Cordova, Jimena Munoz and Trinity Hall, with the latter also being the one senior academic all-district recipient. Another graduating member on the roster is Sofia Olvera, last year’s District 25-4A co-MVP/goalkeeper of the year, but she suffered a season-ending injury.
Rocha said all the seniors had their own path to the varsity club and exemplified that anything is possible with enough hard work and it paid off for the 2020 Lady Tigers. The coach hopes the postseason expectations built up by the graduating members will carry into next season when Sealy will be changing districts following the biennial realignment of the University Interscholastic League.
“I'm excited for next season because there's a lot of hope, I'm excited to get it going,” Rocha said. “Something I see a lot of in Sealy as a tradition is going to the playoffs to see who’s the best. I want to
keep that going with this next season coming up in the new district. Next year there's going to be 10 to 11 seniors and more than half of those will be starters.”
Some of those rising seniors also took up spots on the all-district selections; Valerie Villagomez and Dania Picasso made the all-district first team. Coral Becerra and Alexis Garza were on the all-district second team. Daniela Acosta, Janette Lozano and Olayne Silva earned all-district honorable mentions with Becerra and Garza also garnering academic all-district distinction.
Also being recognized by the district coaches were nine Lady Tiger underclassmen; sophomore Kenna Killough was on the all-district second team and her classmates Hailey Arteaga, Destinee Castillo, Jenna Forrester and Hattie Schalla all earned all-district honorable mention. In addition, Schalla and classmate Diana Munoz were joined by freshmen Valerie Hahn and Logan Sanders in achieving academic all-district honors.
Rocha said that although social distancing guidelines rendered the normally in-person all-district selection meeting to Zoom, it went better than he originally expected. At the end of the day, Rocha said he’s just ready to get back to school.
“I love my job, I love being a coach so every day I pray that August will be here and I can go back into my classroom and back into my coach's office,” Rocha said. “My advice to everybody is to do what you can and look at the positive. We're gonna get through it.”