Mustangs advance to Areas

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After a scoreless regulation and overtime, the Madisonville Mustangs soccer team outscored La Vega 5-4 in a penalty-kick shootout round in Rockdale on Friday to advance to the Area round of the postseason tournament.

The win allowed the Mustangs to face Lumberton in Cleveland on Tuesday with a trip to the Regional Quarterfinals up for grabs.

“We created a couple of opportunities to score during the first and second half, but we could never put them away” said Coach Baltizar Reyes. “Overtime is when the nerves started to hit me, but the boys worked really hard and left everything on the field. We worked on penalty kicks throughout the entire season and the boys were really confident.”

Madisonville capitalized on all five of their penalty shots while La Vega converted on four. The lone save came on the first attempt with a crucial blocked shot by goalkeeper Jesus Zavala.

“Once (Zavala) blocked that shot, I knew it was a huge confidence booster for the team,” said Reyes.

The first stop was all the Mustangs would need. Diego Guevara, Dixon Veliz, Noe Rodriguez, Bayron Veliz and Juan Polanco all found the back of the net in each of their opportunities to secure the program’s second straight trip to the Area Playoffs. Last year, the Mustangs advanced all the way to the state tournament.

Their Area round matchup came on Tuesday evening in Cleveland against the Lumberton Raiders. Entering the contest, the Raiders had not lost a game since a non-district matchup with Clear Springs on Jan. 19. This was also the last game they allowed an opponent to log more than one goal against them.

Lumberton ran the table in district play with a perfect record of 12-0 and outscored their opponents 64-3 in the process. They defeated Carthage 2-1 in their Bi-District matchup to advance to the contest with the Mustangs. In 2018, the Raiders fell 2-1 to Crosby in the Bi-District round of the 5A, Regions 1 and 3 tournament.

“Offensively, we are going to have to take advantage of the opportunities that we create,” said Reyes before Tuesday’s Area matchup. “Defensively, we will have to be focused the entire time and play mistake-free. We have played competitive teams throughout our season, so this is just another team that we will try to defeat.”

The winner of Madisonville and Lumberton will advance to the Regional Quarterfinals to face either Center or Mexia.

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