Thursday, January 17, 2019
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20180403 Soccer Girls CCVMHS vs SHS LG-19Sharyland’s season came to a close this week as the Lady Rattlers (25-6) fell in the Area Round of the 5A Soccer State playoffs by a score of 3-1 to Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial, but if the past four years are any indication of what’s to come, the future remains just as bright at Sharyland High.

Senior forward Kaitie Watson has been a large part of Sharyland’s success on the soccer field over the past four years, winning four district championships and awards like Newcomer of the Year in 2015 and All-Area Player of the Year in 2016. As fellow seniors Elise Townsend and Adlee Simoneaux call it a career at Sharyland High, Watson said what will stick with her are the memories shared with teammates and coaches, along with the bright future the seniors helped build for the Lady Rattlers.

“It’s unfortunate that we lost tonight, but what’s going to stand out to me is how great a family we were and how close we were,” she said. “This team is young, so it’s not the end, it’s still a developing program. I know they’re going to carry it on in future years without us and they’re going to be just as amazing.”

In the playoff matchup against the Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Lady Eagles, the Lady Rattlers’ defense that faltered early in each half for just a second. That second was all the Lady Eagles needed as they capitalized to score two goals in the opening minutes of each half, which had Sharyland playing from behind from the jump.
Sharyland got on the board after junior midfielder Aneli Pena penetrated the Lady Eagles’ defense and sent a solid shot on goal only to be deflected into the air by the goalie. The ball landed at the foot of freshman Alejandra Garcia, who sent the ball past teammates, defenders, and ultimately the Lady Eagles’ goalie to give Sharyland its’ lone goal of the match.

Watson was marked well throughout the 80 minutes by two, three, even four defenders at times, and without freshman standout Xochitl Nguma (concussion protocol), Sharyland just didn’t have enough firepower to keep up.

Even in defeat, Sharyland girls’ soccer Head Coach Mario Ribera said the Lady Rattlers showed effort, heart and toughness.

“I believe my girls played very well to their abilities,” Ribera said. “They played with their hearts; unfortunately, CC Vets was the better team today. We made mistakes in the first half in the first two minutes, and then in the second half again in the first two minutes, but I believe they played with their hearts, they played tough.”

Ribera ends his first year leading the Lady Rattlers with district and bi-district championships under his belt.

The former Palmview boys’ head coach said he was most proud to be a part of what his three seniors, Watson, Townsend and Simoneaux, helped build at Sharyland.

“Something that I feel proud of is being part of their four-time district championships,” he said. “It was incredible to work with them; to be their coach not only here on the field, but off the field. It was beautiful learning from them, coming to a new program and having seniors who were the captains. They treated me very nice and I told them I was very proud and hopefully they can come back to give back to the community.”

The Lady Rattlers will return 16 players from this year’s team in the 2019 season, setting up Sharyland for continued success on the pitch. The group includes current freshman Nguma, Alejandra Garcia and Cloe Ribera, the daughter of Head Coach Mario Ribera.

Watson has played a key role instilling the winning mindset on the soccer field at Sharyland High over the past four years. The senior goal-scoring-machine is now set to take her game to the next level at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where Watson committed to play soccer collegiately, but will never forget where she came from.

“Sharyland is an incredible program, everyone’s so loving and encouraging, I’m very lucky to have gone to school here,” she said. “It’s like a second family. Everyone has a good time and the coaches are amazing. It gives you something to be a part of. I’m glad that I’m staying home and going in to a college experience is going to be totally different. I’m excited for the change; it’s going to be sad leaving but I’m ready for the new challenge in competition.”