Rattlers’ rally lands another state berth

April 11, 2015


By Terrence Thomas

April 11, 2015

BROWNSVILLE — The Reagan girls soccer team easily could have been discouraged and perplexed by the developments.

But instead of lamenting their missed scoring opportunities — they had two shots hit the crossbar — or their opponent’s inspired play, the Rattlers focused on the task at hand.

They weren’t letting anything or anyone get in their way of making it back to the UIL state tournament.

Reagan scored two second-half goals to rally past Los Fresnos 2-1 in the Region IV-6A final Saturday at Brownsville Sports Park.

The Rattlers advanced to the state tournament next week in Georgetown — their second straight appearance in the Final Four and fifth overall. They also went in 2002, 2004 and 2009.

“We’ve been through adversity before, and we just knew that we had to work hard and push through because we’ve done it before and we could just do it again,” Reagan junior midfielder Gaby Galan said. “As long as we work together, we can take care of business.”

The process began early in the second half when Kayla McConnell ran onto a pass from Sam Batley on the left side of the penalty area and deposited a shot into the right-side netting, tying it 1-1 in the 50th minute.

“The ball Sam played was just perfect,” McConnell said. “I kind of didn’t think about it. I just hit it and it went in. After that, we got into our flow and started playing our game.”

Reagan (21-2-2) took over, allowing few scoring chances on defense while creating countless on its own.

The pressure yielded the desire result when Nicole Galan found space in the middle of the penalty area and headed in Batley’s corner kick for the game-winner in the 67th minute.

“I think the biggest part is that we trust each other, and we know that each and every person is going to give it their all on the field,” Gaby Galan said.

Los Fresnos (27-4) looked poised early to become the Rio Grande Valley’s first girls team to make it to state when Clarissa Castaneda pounced on a loose ball and put a blast to the left post for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. The margin stood at halftime.

It was the first goal Reagan has allowed during the playoffs and the first time it has trailed since March 9.

Boerne 4, Salado 2: Emily Blaettner scored two goals, and Tayler Drake and Presley Klar added one apiece as the Greyhounds rallied to win the Region IV-4A championship in Mission.

Boerne (23-3) earned their first trip to the UIL state tournament.

Drake scored to tie it 1-1 at halftime.


Twitter: @mysahighschools




Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2015 11:30 pm
Staff Writer
Roy Hess
Posted on Apr 11, 2015by Roy Hess
The Los Fresnos Lady Falcons’ most successful soccer season came to an-all-too-soon ending Saturday following a 2-1 loss against San Antonio Reagan in the Region IV-6A Tournament girls final at Brownsville Sports Park.
One day after becoming only the third Rio Grande Valley school to advance its girls soccer team to a regional final, the District 32-6A champion Lady Falcons (27-4) finished one victory shy of advancing to the UIL state tournament in Georgetown for the first time.
District 26-6A champion Reagan (24-2-2) moves on to the state tournament for the second straight year. They went as the Region IV-5A champions last season.
Thanks to a goal by Los Fresnos’ Clarissa “Claire” Castaneda from 15 yards out barely 12 and a half minutes into the match, the Lady Falcons led 1-0. It was Los Fresnos’ best shot on goal the entire day.

The Lady Falcons’ lead lasted until 30 minutes remained in the match. From that point and on, Reagan scored a pair of goals to secure its return trip to state. Reagan tied the score with 30 minutes left and went ahead with 14 minutes remaining.

“This was a tough one,” Lady Falcons coach Marissa Wood said. “When you know you could win, you’re that close, and then you come up short, it’s heartbreaking for all of us.“But we’re proud of our effort,” Wood added. “I told the girls that they can’t be sad that it’s over. You have to be grateful that we even got this opportunity. All the hard work they’ve put in was shown today. We just didn’t pull it out.”

With 30 minutes to go, Reagan tied the score at 1 when Kayla McConnell sent a shot on a high arc into the net from the left side some 15-plus yards away. The Lady Rattlers went ahead 2-1 with 13:54 showing on the scoreboard when Sam Batley took a corner kick from the left side and the ball was headed in by Nicole Galan.

Throughout the game, Reagan rotated in and out a platoon of skilled, tall and mobile players.
“They have an army of those,” Wood said.

Veteran Reagan coach Frankie Whitlock said her current squad compares favorably with the seven teams she has taken to state previously, four from Reagan and three from San Antonio Churchill.

She said it wasn’t easy getting past the Lady Falcons. “We knew Los Fresnos was going to be good,” Whitlock said. “Anybody in the regional final is going to be good. The Valley teams are tenacious, they don’t quit and they have heart. We just put it down in the second half today and did what we do. We went to work. “This team has the caliber of my past state teams and more so,” Whitlock added. “It’s a very mature team that doesn’t panic from the challenge before them and when things aren’t going our way. Sometimes you’ve got to have a little luck, too, when you get this far (in the playoffs). “Our girls showed their maturity today. We just went to work and finished it off.”

Los Fresnos reached Saturday’s match with a 1-0 (5-3) regional semifinal victory in penalty kicks Friday against Corpus Christi Carroll. Reagan advanced with a 2-0 regional semifinal win over McAllen Memorial.

This year marked the first time the Lady Falcons, ranked No. 1 in the Valley at the end of the regular season, won four games in the playoffs. During those four matches, they did not allow a single goal in regulation and overtime.