BY RAUL GARCIA
McALLEN — Viviana Cruz connected with Andrea Santana on an over-the-top pass and Santana followed with a goal to set the tone for McAllen Memorial Mustangs as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of play Saturday during the final day of the McAllen ISD Soccer Showcase.
“We are always looking to capitalize and jump on teams early,” McAllen Memorial head coach Mathew Kaiser said. “It’s a mental edge for you. It builds confidence for the girls early on and that was the game plan.”
The quick score was the first of the four goals in the first half leading to a 4-1 win over Donna North at McAllen Memorial’s Hernandez Field.
“To get that advantage quickly really changes the whole mentality of the team and puts a burden on the other team to try to come back,” Kaiser said. “I think that went a long way, it also made for a long game to hold on to the lead and not let them come back, and we were able to do that.”
Memorial’s first score seemed to awaken Donna North as it regrouped and worked to regain control. Donna North positioned itself for a shot on goal to tie the game, but McAllen Memorial’s goalkeeper Paulina Gomez stopped the shot from Gabby Aviles with a dive to the left of the goal and cupped the ball centimeters from the line.
Also scoring for McAllen Memorial were Mia Perez and Viviana Cruz. Andrea Santana scored twice in the first half.
“It was a very good match,” Donna North head coach Tony Garcia said. “We competed very well. We scheduled this tournament with a purpose of growing and gelling and I believe we did that.”
Later, Donna North attempted to take control of the ball in center field, attacking the goal with quick passing and it led to their only score in the 21st minute of the first half with a shot from Gabby Aviles to get on the board, trailing 3-1.
Not even two minutes went by from the time of their first score bfore Aviles scored once more, only to have it called back on an offside violation.
The Mustangs scored once more in the first half off a rebound that bounced off Donna North’s goalie and near Memorial’s Cruz who scored to lift the Mustangs to a 4-1 lead.
Memorial went on to control the second half defensively holding off every effort of Donna North’s scoring attack.
“Our girls are go-getters and they are tough and I love their style of play and they get after it,” Garcia said.