Robert E. Lee’s Efren Flores is one of a number of mainstays from last year’s historic squad that recorded the program’s first ever playoff win. The Ganders have high expectations with the bar raised heading into 7:30 p.m. Friday’s home opener against Porter.

Eight was enough for Robert E.Lee head soccer coach Jay Langlois.

It took his eighth season, but Langlois got the Ganders past the

bi-district playoff hurdle and into the area round before losing to Class

5A state runner-up Sharpstown following REL’s second-place finish in

District 22-5A play.

Now, Langlois is ready to reload behind six returning starters including

reigning district Goalkeeper of the Year Uriel Santillan, all-district

and co-district scoring leader, Daniel Linares, midfielders Efren

Flores, Gilberto Nunez and Christian Marsiglia and lone veteran defender,

David Serrato.

“This year has been different and we want to go out there in the playoffs

and show people what we are about,” Santillan said. “We want to

make a statement. We have no fear at all, we have straight confidence.

“I trust my team and have total confidence in every single player

out there on the field."

They will need to replace district MVP Omar Hernandez who is now

playing collegiately in Oregon.

“We do not have a player of Omar’s stature to play the target role, so we will

need to be more creative in generating offensive chances,”

Langlois said. “Additionally, we only return one of our back five, so will take

the first few weeks of the season finding the right combination

back there.

“Having said that, I feel good about the potential of our defense. The guys we

are trying out are fast learners and have already picked up on our team

defensive philosophy.

The pace of their learning the techniques and movements is encouraging.”

A top four finish in district is one to be had for the Ganders, but it

should be a battle once again. 

“I think we will know by Jan. 24 how we stack up against our

district opponents,” Langlois said. “Once again I expect Friendswood

to be the team to beat, but in this district every match can potentially

go in any direction. Last year our top four teams were not decided until

the last match day. I would not be surprised if it was the same again

this year.”

The midfield will have to come up big for the Ganders.

“I feel pretty good about the midfield,” Flores said. “We had some

underclassmen on the bench. We are going to be faster. They won’t be

able to keep up with us if we play it around quick.”

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