Lobos capture part of first place

UHS girls defeat Harlandale 2-1

It was a huge night for the Uvalde Lobos Tuesday.

With their 2-1 victory over the San Antonio Harlandale Indians, the Lobos pulled into a first place tie in the District 29-5A soccer standings.

The Lobos extended their current winning steak to five matches in a row.

They handed the Harlandale girls their first district loss and avenged an earlier-season loss to the Indians.

“This a really big win for us tonight,” said Uvalde High School head soccer coach Russell McElroy following the match.

“These girls play hard from start to finish. They played calm and together, and won this game as a team,” said McElroy. “We have three district matches left on our schedule. We need to play as well in those matches as we did tonight.”

Two of the UHS seniors on the team echoed their coach’s enthusiasm following the contest.

“It feels amazing to win against Harlandale. They have a good team, but we played together and pulled off a victory tonight,” said Katelin Sena.

“We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team and starting the season, I think some people doubted how well we would play this year, but we are making history,” said Caryssa Mendoza. “We were underdogs going into this match tonight, but we won and that is all that matters.”

The Lobos got off to a good start in the first half of the match as they kept the pressure on Harlandale goal keeper Kaylynn Rollins with nine attempted shots on goal.

Uvalde’s sixth attempt was successful as Arissa Perez put in a close-range shot to give the Lobos a 1-0 lead with 17:21 left in the first half.

Less than two minutes later, goal keeper Klara Ruiz made a nice block to stop a Harlandale goal.

Trailing by one goal, the Indians stepped up their offensive pressure early in the second half.

The Indians connected on a shot by Jazmin Baltazar that just went over the arms of the Uvalde goal keeper.

But the Lobos came back to take the lead at the 25:57 mark of the second half when Arissa Perez scored her second goal of the match. Her goal came on another close-range shot.

Up 2-1, the Lobos relied on their defense to carry them the rest of the way to victory as they shut out the Indians en route to recording one of their biggest wins of the season.

“We played solid defense throughout the match,” said Coach McElroy, who had special praise for defensive players Jackie Gomez, Abigail Perez, Priscilla Cardoza, and Trinity Ariola, who played the entire match.

Goal keeper Klara Ruiz recorded over 12 saves and allowed only one goal.

With the win, the Lobos are now 6-1 in district play and are tied with Harlandale for first place in the standings. The Lobos are 9-7-1 for the season.

The UHS girls will be on the road tomorrow night to take on the Floresville Jaguars in a district rematch at Floresville.

Tuesday night, the Jaguars battled the McCollum Cowboys to a 2-2 tie in action at Floresville.

The Jags, 3-3 in district play, are tied with McCollum for third place.

Last month, the Lobos shut out the Jaguars, 5-0, in action at the UHS soccer field, but Coach McElroy anticipates a tougher match tomorrow at Floresville.

“Now that we are tied for first place, we have a target on our back. Our opponents all will be looking to knock us off,” said McElroy.

In action last Friday night, the Lobos topped the Southside Lady Cardinals, 2-0, in action at Southside High School.

Arissa Perez scored both Uvalde goals.

Her first goal came with eight minutes left in the second half, while her other goal came with two minutes remaining.

Both goals came on second-chance shots off rebounds.

Most of the match was a defensive struggle.

Coach McElroy praised the overall play of his defense. “Our defenders all played well. They stepped up as the moments arose.”

“Jackie Gomez had an excellent moment in which she cleared a ball that rebounded off of goal keeper Klara Ruiz’s diving effort to stop a shot on goal,” said McElroy.

He had special praise for sweeper Abigail Perez and for goal keeper Klara Ruiz.

“Southside attempted a lot of shots, but our defense did a good job of keeping the ball out of the goal,” said McElroy. “Our defensive line did a really good job as a unit.”

McElroy praised the Lobos for focusing on Southside.

“I talked to our team before the match and told them this would be a tough match because Southside had nothing to lose and that they would come at us giving it everything that they had,” said McElroy. “As expected, Southside played us tough, but our girls responded well and played well against a team desperate for a victory.”

Next week, the Lobos will have a week off from soccer competition because of Spring Break.

The Lobos will wind up district play with a road match against San Antonio McCollum on March 20 and a home match against Eagle Pass Winn on March 23 at UHS.

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