Boys soccer: Bobcats hope to build on success
Having not won a playoff game for 15 years, and trailing 1-0 at halftime of the 2011 postseason opener, the pressure was on the District 17-5A champion Cy-Fair Bobcats.
"It wasn't just a monkey on our back," 23rd-year coach Glen Waddell said, "it was a gorilla."
The Bobcats dug deep against Nimitz in the bidistrict playoff on March 29 and came back for a 2-1 triumph that meant postseason success for the first time since 1995.
"Our players believed in themselves that night even tough we were down at halftime, and really, that's a reflection of the entire season," Waddell said. "These players overcame a lot of things, but that adversity brought us closer together, and it was just a fantastic year.
"The team motto was 'No Excuses' and it was really fun watching these kids develop."
Cy-Fair's 17-4-5 overall mark included a 10-1-2 championship finish in 17-5A with the Bobcats beating out co-playoff qualifiers Langham Creek (7-2-4), Cy Falls (7-3-3) and Cy Lakes (5-2-6), and the other six district members.
"I guess some people thought we'd be in contention, but most everyone was picking Langham Creek and Cy Falls," Waddell said. "The district is always extremely competitive and there's a lot of parity, so you have to give the players a lot of credit for playing so well."
The Bobcats' only district loss came against Cy Woods 2-1, and they tied Cy Lakes 1-1 and Langham Creek 2-2 to go along with 10 league triumphs.
Senior forwards Carlos Mendoza and Xavier Jimenez spearheaded the attack with Mendoza leading the team and district in goals, and Jiminez second among the Bobcats and third in 17-5A.
Senior captains Sam Potter (goalkeeper) and Tony DeBauche (defender) kept things solid at the other end of the field for a defense that never allowed more than two goals in a game.
Teammates and opponents use words like "rock" and "leader" when talking about Potter, and many believe DeBauche should be among the district MVP candidates.
Junior Luis Gonzales and freshman Adonis Pinto were mainstays in the midfield, and senior defenders Roder Cardona and Clark Kauffman, junior midfielder Tyler Anselmi, and sophomore forward-midfielder Andrew Tang were also regulars in the starting lineup.
Tang and Gonzales scored goals in the playoff win against Nimtz.
Junior Sergio Gudino, and seniors Matt Snyder and Yohan Sagastume, made key contributions in the midfield throughout the season, as did Jasiu Zawitkowski, who missed the 1-0 area playoff loss at Seven Lakes with an injury.
Defender Tony Perez is one of 10 seniors who will be lost to graduation, but the Bobcats do return several lettermen including goalkeeper Francesco LoSauro, defender Geoff Orihel and midfielder Murtaza Rizvi, a trio of sophomores on the postseason roster.
LoSauro started three district games in goal and came away with two shutouts while filling in for Potter, and Rizvi captained the junior varsity to a third place in district before being called up.
"We have some talented players returning, but we will be young, and we won't have a lot of seniors," Waddell said. "Hopefully we can build on the last two playoff seasons, and we can come up with another fantastic year.
"This team was full of overachievers and kids who we didn't think would contribute so much, but did, and the win against Nimitz was huge because it got rid of a lot of pressure."
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