“This program, I think we’re just at an all-time high right now,” said senior striker Hunter Merritt. “The competition level of our district is unmatched compared to any other district in Texas, so for us to win this district four straight times just speaks volumes about the program."
Seven Lakes set out to do something unprecedented this year.
The Spartans have big goals, make a deep run, make it back to state, and others, but first and foremost they needed to take care of things in District 19-6A.
Seven Lakes came into this year having won the district title each of the past three years, and they made it their first goal to go out and claim a fourth. Something that hadn’t been done in Katy ISD boys soccer since at least the 1980’s and maybe never.
The Spartans had a chance to claim that title on Tuesday and didn’t hold back, beating Paetow 5-0, including a four goal second half where Seven Lakes put things away and was able to start the celebration early.
“This program, I think we’re just at an all-time high right now,” said senior striker Hunter Merritt. “The competition level of our district is unmatched compared to any other district in Texas, so for us to win this district four straight times just speaks volumes about the program and about coach (Jimmy) Kreuger. To do it with two games left means even more. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
It was a very strong first half from both sides, Seven Lakes and Paetow went back and forth, with both teams offenses forcing their defenses into adverse positions. Paetow made Seven Lakes struggle to move the ball forward for the first 15 to 20 minutes of the game, but the Spartans settled into the game and found their flow as the first half went on.
Seven Lakes started creating better chances towards the end of the first half and found their breakthrough in the 34th minute, when they caught Paetow out on a counter attack, with Kortay Koc delivering a through ball to Sean Carlos Rivera, who hit a curler to the far post that opened the scoring.
“We’re a team that will always find a way and to get this win just shows the success of our program,” said junior midfielder Aidan Morrison. “it’s an honor to be at such a great school that’s had this success. But it just makes us want it even more, so to make it four in a row today was a pretty special moment.”
The Spartans kicked it into high gear in the second half, Merritt scored in the 49th minute off a pass from Noa Stasic before Gabriel Gonzalez made it 3-0 just five minutes later when he took a pass from Merritt and put it far post, past the diving keeper and into the back of the net. Kortay Koc and Sebastian Ranz added goals to seal things as the Spartans were able to empty the bench and allow their seniors to celebrate the night after scoring five.
Merritt became the Spartans all-time leading points scorer in the game, as his goals and assists tally now surpasses any player that has come through the Seven Lakes program.
“The big thing about Hunter is he is one of the most hardworking people on the field every single day,” Krueger said. “It’s great to see a player like that that who just grinds and battles in every single moment of the game do something that is really special. This program has had a lot of talented players, for him to do that speaks volumes to him as a person, his character and him as a player.”
This is just the first goal that the Spartans have checked off their list, and with two district games remaining before playoffs, Seven Lakes remains as focused and ready as ever, as they prepare for the biggest part of their season yet.
“it’s good to clinch with two matches to go, we’ll be able to use those final two matches as preparation for bi-district and from there it’s one round at a time,” Krueger said. “Last year it wasn’t easy, once you hit playoffs nothing is. We can’t look beyond anyone, it’s a playoff situation and environment and if you lose, you’re done. We just have to get our guys as prepared as possible, but they’re hungry to go out there and continue to prove the