East Valley Soccer: Lady Cardinals, Rockets advance to area round

Claire Cruz, Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas
·3 min read

Mar. 27—By CLAIRE CRUZ, Staff Writer

Several boys and girls soccer teams competed in bi-district playoff action Thursday and Friday. The opening round of the postseason will wrap up today.

The District 32-6A champion Harlingen High Lady Cardinals advanced to Round 2 after going on the road and defeating Edinburg North 2-1. Coach Debra Galvan said the Lady Cardinals "didn't agree with all of the calls that were made" and had a goal waved off, but she was proud of the way the team kept its composure and played with heart to pull off the victory.

"It was a challenging game. Both teams came out wanting to win and we had to really push hard to get the win, and we'll take it," Galvan said. "It was a different style of play, and it took us a while to adjust. We discussed it and we had to want it more than them. They played with all their heart tonight. Every ball and every pass, and everything we did came from them just trying their hardest."

Though it took a team effort to battle for the close win, Galvan said Carissa "CJ" Escamilla was a standout in the playoff opener. Escamilla's defensive effort helped set up a date with Northside Brennan in the area round. Details aren't finalized, but Galvan said they're eyeing a Tuesday neutral site game in Corpus Christi.

"I would give a shoutout to Carissa Escamilla. She was playing defense for us and she ended up moving to sweeper, and she stood out today, really stopping anybody from penetrating through," Galvan said. "We're already looking forward to the next round and what we have to do to fix some things to be 100 percent and see how far we can go. We're just blessed to have playoffs this year, and we want to make it as far as possible."

The Brownsville Porter Cowboys defeated PSJA Memorial 4-1 on Friday. The Brownsville Lopez Lady Lobos lost in overtime to McAllen Rowe, and the Harlingen South Lady Hawks were defeated 4-1 by Edinburg Vela.

On Thursday, the Brownsville IDEA Riverview Rockets picked up the first playoff win in program history by defeating Monte Alto 4-3. Haziel Mejia scored a hat trick to help lift the Rockets to the area round, where they'll face Alice at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at H-E-B Park.

"It was a very, very tough game," Riverview coach Rudy Rodriguez said. "When things got a little bit tough on them, they did not give up. They were super excited. I told them before no matter what the result was going to be, I was very proud of them because they had already exceeded the goals we set at the beginning of the season, and everything else now is a bonus and a learning experience."

Rodriguez said the Rockets were nervous when the game began since it was the first playoff appearance for the young squad, but they showed their maturity to gain their composure and battle. Sebastian Barrios scored the first goal of the contest, then Mejia showed off his skills to score the next three.

Riverview took a 3-0 lead, but Monte Alto came roaring back as the Rockets had some miscues defensively. It was a 3-2 contest at halftime, but Monte Alto tied things up in the second half. Rodriguez was proud of the way his team stayed focused and adjusted to end up on top.

"We got exhausted because they were pressing up high," Rodriguez said. "We had a couple of mistakes on defense, and during halftime we talked about them. They knew that they had pretty much controlled the entire first half, and due to the two mistakes, we got scored on. They knew what they had to do in the second half. The communication got better, and they went all out."