Seven Lakes masterfully exerted its physicality and will in securing the District 19-6A boys soccer championship for the second straight year, and third time in five years, and held off a late …
Seven Lakes masterfully exerted its physicality and will in securing the District 19-6A boys soccer championship for the second straight year, and third time in five years, and held off a late furious flourish from rival Cinco Ranch to earn a 2-1 win on Friday evening at Seven Lakes High.
Needing a win or draw to take the district, the Spartans left little doubt who the cream of the crop is in a hotly contested 19-6A. Seven Lakes used its size and length to control possession on Cinco Ranch’s side of the field in the first half, taking advantage of the Cougars’ youth along the backline, and capitalized with nifty scoring from freshman midfielder Aidan Morrison and sophomore midfielder/forward Hunter Merritt.
“It’s a really big deal for us,” senior midfielder Diego Lazo said. “Not many schools can win district, and for us to do it not just once, but twice … it’s very special for us. This means a lot for us, but we want more. We’re trying to get to state.”
Seven Lakes improved to 17-1-1 overall and finished district play 10-1-1. Cinco Ranch, which beat Seven Lakes 3-2 in their first-round meeting, finished district 8-2-2. The Cougars are 13-2-2 overall.
Morrison scored at the 26:38 mark of the first half on a straightaway no-doubter near the goal. It was his third tally in district play.
“Honestly, it happened so quick that I don’t even remember it,” Morrison said. “I think one of their center backs missed the ball and it came rolling to me. I just hit it. It went in. I was confident I was going to score, but there was so much going through my head in the moment that I didn’t even think about it.”
Home-schooled before this year, Morrison said soccer has consumed his life. He has put so much time and effort into the sport, he said, that he is expecting to score whenever he has possession.
Nine minutes later, Merritt scored his fifth goal in district play on a rebound for a 2-0 Spartans lead with 17:49 left in the first half.
“We have a few young players who have stepped up all year, not just today,” said coach Jimmy Krueger, who relies on three sophomores and two freshmen in his lineup. “Aidan is exceptional, playing well beyond his years. He’s well-rounded, smart, doesn’t get rattled. Him and Hunter have a bright future, and (freshman midfielder/forward) Noa (Stasic) as well. It just shows with that, and with how well our JVs have done, we’re going to continue that success here at Seven Lakes.”
In the second half, Cinco Ranch, expectedly, played up more and incorporated more players in the attack. The forward ambush paid off when sophomore striker Dany Vargas connected to give the Cougars momentum less than five minutes into the half.
Cinco Ranch had many more chances the rest of the way to tie, including an oh-so-close miss by sophomore midfielder Julio Colmenares with 12 minutes remaining, but Seven Lakes’ defense, led by senior defender Julian Arai, made big play after big play.
“We fought. We wanted this game so bad,” Lazo said. “We started the game well, and after scoring two goals we knew we’d be in for a fight. They threw more players in the attack, and had us for a bit, but our midfield and our defense stayed composed and we did our job in the end.”
Krueger said he has a team that lives in the moment. That comes from the heartbreak of last season, which was canceled with one game left in district play because of the pandemic.
That team, Krueger said, was just as gifted as this one. He has a group playing for last year’s seniors who were robbed of an opportunity to reach their ceiling.
“The state of what we live in right now, nothing is given,” Krueger said. “You can’t take anything for granted. Your ability to play this game has a finite time on it; you can’t do it forever. You have your entire life to focus on other things, and these moments are where the focus should be.
“We have a team that has an appreciation, and why this means so much to the players is they (Cinco Ranch) care just as much and they work just as hard as we do. It makes the moments that much better. We battled, we got the win, and it just makes it all worth it playing against a team that cares than one that doesn’t care and you put up five or six (goals) on them.”
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