UIL Soccer Playoffs: London boys return to regional semis with win against IDEA Brownsville
The London boys soccer team had several goals before the start of the season.
One was to win a district championship and the other was to make it back to the Region IV-4A tournament.
The Pirates clinched the district title earlier this month with a 16-0 record and checked off their next goal by capturing a 5-1 regional quarterfinal win against IDEA Brownsville on Friday to advance to the sweet 16 of the high school soccer playoffs.
London becomes the sixth Coastal Bend boys soccer team to advance to the regional tournament after accomplishing the feat in 2021 and now, 2023.
"These boys worked hard and we had a lot of goals at the beginning of the year," London coach Joe Riojas said. "One of them was to win a district title in a tough district. I feel we're in one of the two toughest districts in the region and we went 16-0. The seniors had a goal of getting back to the sweet 16."
Egeman Van Niekerk and Aiden Ita led the way after combining for four goals and three assists in the victory. Peyton Lawhon also delivered a goal for London, which never trailed in the match.
"It's an amazing feeling," Van Niekerk said. "Second time in three years for me and it's amazing. I couldn't have done it without my team. It's special to lead these guys. They are very smart and I just need to motivate and push them. They motivate me as well and we got each other's backs. I don't want this to be the last time we made the regional tournament. I want us to do it next year as well."
The Pirates will face Boerne next, which is coming off a regional quarterfinal win against Marble Falls next week at Cabaniss.
"A lot of respect to the (Rio Grande) Valley because it's a grind to get through the Valley," Riojas said. "It just shows that Corpus Christi soccer and Texas soccer is coming... We're going to try and break through and get to the state tournament."
Calallen girls punch regional tournament ticket
The Calallen girls soccer team can begin preparations for the Region IV-4A semifinals after capturing a 9-0 win against Alice in the regional quarterfinals on Thursday at Cabaniss Soccer Field.
The Wildcats (19-1-3) increased their winning streak to 10 games and will play the Boerne-Burnet winner back at the Cabaniss Sports Complex in the regional semifinals at 2 p.m. on April 7.
This is the third consecutive season Calallen has advanced to the regional tournament. The Wildcats also haven't allowed goal during the postseason.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: London boys return to regional semis with win against IDEA Brownsville