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GEORGETOWN, TX – While the Mansfield Tigers had a clear height advantage, they were no match for the skillful ball handling of the Sharyland Rattlers in this evening’s State UIL Boys Semi-final Soccer Tournament.
Sharyland took the lead early with a rifle kick to the far right corner by Daniel Garcia less than five minutes into the 80-minute game. The Rattlers were clearly in control as they exhibited excellent defense and ball maneuvering throughout the first half.
Less than 11 minutes after the first goal, the Rattlers struck again. This time Jesus Olivares punched it in smoothly from just in front of the goal. In addition to establishing their 2-0 lead, Sharyland kept the pressure on the Tigers with four attempted goals that were saved by the Mansfield goalkeeper Kenny Barbaran in the first half.
Mansfield Coach John Fazekas must have said something during halftime to put the roar back into the Tigers as they quickly came back with a goal just 3:20 into the second period. Throughout the second period the Tigers played more aggressively, receiving a yellow card just 10 minutes into the half. This was not the first yellow card of the game, however, as Sharyland’s Garcia was yellow carded midway through the first period. Nor was it the last, as both teams were yellow carded in the second half.
Despite their more aggressive play in the second period, the Tigers were met head on by a talented Rattler team that struck one last fatal blow as Olivares scored his second goal of the state match with 17:43 remaining. That was all Sharyland needed to secure their first state semi-final win in team history. The 3-1 score was the final. Mansfield could not get a shot to find it’s mark, despite several attempts.
Sharyland has now outscored its opponents 15-4 in six playoff matches. Mansfield coach Fazekas has taken his team to the playoffs in each of his 11 seasons with the Tigers. Both teams played today in their first-ever state tournament.
Next up: Sharyland will face the winner of tonight’s semi-final match between Austin Westlake and Katy Morton Ranch. The match started right after the Sharyland game. Westlake has had an impressive season, winning or tying its first 15 matches this year, and allowing only one goal in the playoffs.
Morton Ranch, making its second state tournament appearance, has not been scored on during the postseason. Westlake is in its third state tournament.
The state 5-A boys soccer final match will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. The match will be webcast on www.FoxSportsSouthwest.com.
Look for Sharyland’s state tournament photos to be posted on the Progress Times Photo Gallery later tonight.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.