HARLINGEN — It was the outcome the Harlingen South Lady Hawks needed, but it was also the result the Weslaco East Lady Wildcats were hoping to avoid.
After the Lady Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead in the first half, the Lady Hawks, behind a pair of goals from Emily Velazquez, stormed back to defeat Weslaco East 3-1 at Boggus Stadium.
“We played well when we controlled things,” said Harlingen South head girls soccer coach Omar Pedroza. “We had a lot of chances to score and now as we get into the playoffs, we can’t miss that many times. We’re going to play some really good teams that might only give you two or three chances to score and that’s it, so we have to put them away and we have to score.
“I’m happy we controlled things, our passing was good, we created a lot of scoring chances, but we definitely have to put those goals in.”
Despite the loss, it was Weslaco East that got on the board first. Xitlaly Hernandez got behind a cross and shot it past the South goalkeeper to give the Lady Wildcats a 1-0 lead with 18 minutes remaining in the first half.
However, 13 minutes later, South was awarded a penalty kick after an apparent handball in the box by the Lady Wildcats.
Velázquez put it away and tied the game at 1-1 with five minutes left before the half.
Velasquez’s name was called again as three minutes after her first goal she doubled her tally after receiving a cross from teammate Mellory Grannum.
The Lady Hawks could have scored another before the half, unfortunately the goal was called off by the referee.
On the questioned play, Harlingen South’s Caroline Grannum threw the ball in and bounced over every player before finding its way to the back of the net.
Under the guidelines, from a throw-in, the ball must be touched by a player before going into the net. However, from a corner kick it does not need to be touched by anybody.
Up 2-1 in the second half, Velazquez had the opportunity to score for a third time, but the South player missed from close range keeping Weslaco East in the game.
With 10 minutes remaining in the match, South finally found the goal it needed. Caroline Grannum ran past the Weslaco East defense and scored, putting away the game for the Lady Hawks.
For the Lady Wildcats, the loss means they’re out of contention for a playoff spot, nevertheless head coach Adriele Martinez was proud of the effort his team gave all season.
“We played a good team and we stayed with them for most of the game said,” Martinez. “We took the lead first but we had a couple of mistakes that cost us, but that’s been the story of our season. We’ve dominated games, but mistakes have cost us.
“But I’m proud of my girls and this is a team to be reckoned with. We are losing six seniors, but I think we have good depth coming back and I think we let people know who we are.”
After the forecast had been the hot topic the past few days, Saturday morning was completely opposite. Temperatures reached the low 80s by start time and because of the humidity, the referee gave the players water breaks every 20 minutes.
The Lady Hawks will now get ready to host Edinburg Vela in the bi-district round of the playoffs at 6 p.m. on Friday at Boggus Stadium.