High School Boys Soccer

‘NO. 1 IN KATY’

Tompkins’ defense rises to occasion in regional quarterfinal win over Seven Lakes

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 4/3/21

Without senior captain Bryce Robisch, and young players assuming more responsibility as a result, Tompkins’ defensive back line has been inconsistent this season, and at times great cause for concern.

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High School Boys Soccer

‘NO. 1 IN KATY’

Tompkins’ defense rises to occasion in regional quarterfinal win over Seven Lakes

Posted

Without senior captain Bryce Robisch, and young players assuming more responsibility as a result, Tompkins’ defensive back line has been inconsistent this season, and at times great cause for concern.

The back four, for instance, had an inauspicious showing in the Falcons’ area playoff game against Cy-Fair on March 30, a comeback that required a flourish of three goals in a three-minute span late in the second half for the 4-2 win. But the defense made up for it, and then some, in Tompkins’ dramatic, hotly contested 1-0 Class 6A boys soccer regional quarterfinal win over Seven Lakes on Friday at Rhodes Stadium.

Tompkins advanced to the regional semifinals against Humble on Tuesday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Pridgeon Stadium in Cypress.

After surrendering five total goals to the Spartans in two district games, the Falcons produced an impressive clean sheet, led by the inspired play of seniors Luke Andrepont and Alec Shockley, junior Ian Aumagher and sophomore Diego Castellano.

“They were amazing,” coach Tom Jones said. “That was the best game they’ve played all year. This is the third time we’ve played (Seven Lakes), so we each knew what the other was going to do. Coming in, we know what to work on and how to approach the game. To be doing this without Bryce is really crazy. They’re staying compact, they’re not giving up holes. We’ve given up a lot of goals on throw-ins and set pieces, and we were just sound on that.”

As a result, Tompkins (14-5-2) is headed to the regional semis for the third straight postseason and fourth time in five years after handing a talented, District 19-6A champion Seven Lakes club (19-2-1) just its second loss of the season.

“It’s insane, man,” sophomore Luis Lugo said. “We talk to the people who came before us like Jovan Prado, Danny Espinoza. Every day, we talk to them, they stay in touch, and they’re always talking to us about legacy of this team. We’re continuing it. This game, we showed who was best. No. 1 in Katy.”

It was Lugo’s shot in the 22nd minute that proved the difference-maker.

Lugo took a nice delivery from senior Jose Ojeda on the left side, went to his right toward the middle of the field, got the ball to his right foot, gathered his steps and struck from about 20 yards out.

“Me and Ojeda have a really good connection and we look for each other,” said Lugo, who has goals in all three playoff games. “He gave me a perfect pass, he has a knack for it, and I got my first touch in, I looked far post and I knew I could put it in. I have that confidence.”

From there, the much-maligned back line, which drew slight frustration from Jones after the Cy-Fair win, did the rest.

Tompkins runs a different defensive formation against Seven Lakes than it does for most teams, utilizing a block system where players defend deep into their own territory to restrict space for the opposition. The alignment cut down on the number of long balls from Seven Lakes.

The Spartans, who averaged 3.7 goals entering the game, had their share of quality chances. Andrepont and the back line, which often included Ojeda as another defender because of his speed and aggressiveness, pursued balls relentlessly and worked to disrupt the attack close to the net, often sacrificing their bodies to keep the ball away.

Senior goalkeeper Paulo Valente was phenomenal with five strong saves in the second half, using his athleticism and length to his advantage and playing with high energy.

“We had a high work rate and we were focused,” Andrepont said. “Every single person was fighting for the ball. We really wanted this win, and you could tell with the passion everyone was playing with. Seven Lakes is a clever team. They move players in and out, and defensively it’s about passing players on and being disciplined and communicating.”

The district season series between the two rivals featured a tie and a 4-3 Seven Lakes win in which the Spartans rallied dramatically late. But the results did not leave Tompkins dismayed as much as optimistic.

“We felt we had the advantage in parts of those games, and if we could put a whole game together, we felt pretty good about our chances,” Jones said.

That proved true. So, the fourth-place team out of District 19-6A added the No. 1 team in the Greater Houston area to its list of playoff conquests, alongside previously undefeated Ridge Point and one-loss Cy-Fair.

“It’s great,” Ojeda said. “Obviously, in district we didn’t start or finish how we wanted to. Tompkins is always a hard-working team and we always felt we were a playoff team. When it comes down to play and win, we get the job done. It’s working out, as you can see.”

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