A magical and historic season for the Goose Creek Memorial girls soccer team may have been cut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it didn’t make it any less memorable.
The Lady Patriots stood at 21-1-1 overall and 11-1 in District 22-5A with a looming title match with Friendswood on March 20.
Senior Tania Rodriguez and her teammates were never allowed that rematch with the only team to beat the Lady Patriots – a 1-0 loss on a late goal – and a playoff run was denied.
Rodriguez’s play was a big factor in the team’s success as she scored 22 goals and added nine assists to lead a GCM team full of talent and is the 2020 Baytown Sun Girls Soccer Select Player of the Year.
“She was a game changer and the one player that stood out the most among everyone else on the field,” GCM head coach Roman Huizar said. “Teams game planned against her and still couldn’t stop her. She’s a great kid and tremendous athlete.
“She would literally take on three defenders consistently and beat all three players. She opened up so much for the other players on the field.”
For Rodriguez, the ending of the season wasn’t ideal, but the memory of a special year still resonates for her.
“Overall, my team and I did well and did what we could to push ourselves,” Rodriguez said. “It was a good four years for me, and I don’t regret any of it. I feel like I did my job and pushed myself every single day. I am happy I got to meet the people that I did and was able to build friendships with the upperclassmen and the underclassmen.”
A talented freshmen class helped really push Rodriguez to new heights, especially when its ability was a welcome surprise.
“I didn’t think they were going to be as talented as they were and this year turned out to be really good and it has a lot to do with them,” she said.
It’s still a bittersweet to a memorable season.
“We did our jobs and we accomplished so much,” Rodriguez said. “We did really good even though our season got canceled. It stinks, but we can’t do anything about it, so we should be happy with what we did.
“(The pandemic) doesn’t take anything away that we did, because we were so close to finishing the season.”
REST OF THE SELECT
Keila Cruz, junior, center defensive back, Crosby
Known by her head coach Trevor Burgess as a calming presence in the back, Cruz also showed an ability to attack on the offensive side of the field.
“She is a very creative player who was able to pick out passes from the back to spring an attack,” Burgess said.
Isabel De La Rosa, senior, forward/midfield, RSS
The co-captain was a key force in the Lady Rangers improved play this campaign.
“Isabel led the team in goal and assists, a year after missing her junior season due to a knee injury,” Sterling head coach Clyde Messiah said.
Two of her 11 goals came in penalty kick shootout wins, while several others either tied games or got the RSS girls a lead.
Syndie Gustavus, senior, goalkeeper, GCM
The senior made the most of her first year starting between the sticks as she gave up 10 goals all year for a goals-against-average of 0.416.
Jailynn Lopez, senior, center back, GCM
Lopez played four years for the varsity team and presented an imposing figure.
“Her being in the middle of the defense really don’t have the pretty stats as others but if you looked at my defense, she was the protector,” Huizar said. “Her height and athleticism played a big part in her helping us to our success this season. Sometimes she could literally take the ball from the back and score.”
Fatima Medrano, senior, left defensive back, GCM
An attacking defender, Medrano was a four-year varsity player for the Lady Patriots, she scored six goals and added six assists. Huizar said Medrano could “play any position.”
Demi McGraw, junior, center back, Barbers Hill
The leader of her team’s defensive spine, she offered plenty on both sides of the pitch, offering a nice target on corner kicks.
Cadence Sanders, freshman, attacking midfielder, Barbers Hill
According to Barbers Hill head coach Bonnie Landry, the newcomer is the first player to practice and the Lady Eagles hardest worker. She finished with seven goals and six assists this season for a Class 5A playoff qualifier.
“She is going to be dangerous,” Landry said.
Paige Sanders, senior, center midfielder, Barbers Hill
The Lady Eagles captain finished with six goals and seven assists and was a key playmaker for the team.
“She distributes the ball well and knows the game,” Landry said.
Kennedy Tristan, freshman, center midfielder, GCM
As dominant in the midfield as Rodriguez was up front, the first-year Lady Patriot had 26 goals and 13 assists and saw her game elevate in district play, leading in total points.
“She is the real deal, what she did as freshmen is remarkable,” Huizar said. “I’ve coached 15 years and you don’t see many players like this. Her skill set and athleticism is legit. She could have played varsity for me when I saw in her seventh grade at Highlands. This girl’s future is bright.”
Lauren Benavides, midfielder, senior, GCM
Bailey CoVan, holding midfielder, senior, Crosby
Kelli Dodson, midfielder, sophomore, RSS
Kayleen Figueroa, center forward, freshman, GCM
Jocelyn Magana, sophomore, fullback, RSS
Jacie Meredith, freshman, forward, Barbers Hill
Dalexa Rodriguez, senior, goalkeeper, Barbers Hill