Lady Hawks face biggest challenge of season

HARLINGEN — Harlingen South girls soccer coach Omar Pedroza’s cell phone has been busy as of late, but not for the reason one might expect.

Most of the calls the 20-year coaching veteran has been receiving is advice on how the Lady Hawks should approach McAllen High, whom they play at 7p.m. today at Boggus Stadium in a Class 6A regional quarterfinal playoff match.

However, Pedroza has his own idea of what he wants to do.

“All I have told them is to play as hard as they can,” he said. “I think if we play as well as we did on Friday and if we catch a couple of breaks here and there you just never know what can happen.

“They’re an outstanding team and probably have two or three girls that are Division I players. All I have asked the girls is to have a chance at the end.”

For the Lady Hawks, they are once again playing a role that has become to be all too familiar in recent days – the one of an underdog.

Many didn’t expect the Lady Hawks to beat a tough and physical San Antonio Southwest team on Friday, but when the opportunity came to prove themselves the Lady Hawks rose to the challenge.

Tonight, another daunting challenge has been placed in front of Harlingen South and, once again, all eyes are on Boggus Stadium for the biggest game the stadium has hosted since football season ended.

Two weeks ago as the Lady Hawks were celebrating their 6-0 bi-district victory over Edinburg Vela, the Lady Bulldogs were also celebrating a 9-1 win over Laredo United South. In fact the Lady Bulldogs have not lost a match since January. And on Friday as the Lady Hawks were heading into overtime against Southwest, the Lady Bulldogs were putting the finishing touches on a 10-0 rout over Brownsville Hanna.

However, as the Lady Hawks step into another must-win contest, it’s easy to ignore the heroics that got them to the third round of the playoffs in the first place.

Sophomore Alise Garza made a name for herself on Friday. With under 10 minutes left to play, Garza could have scored the game-winning goal, but her attempt hit the post and bounced away. However, Garza’s confident nature didn’t let her hide. In fact, with the game on the line all eyes were on Garza to deliver.

“I felt terrible after I missed that shot because I definitely should have made that one,” said Garza. “But I definitely got some redemption with the penalty kick.”

Another pair of silent heroes were goalkeepers Reid Davis and Alicia Rodriguez, who came up big when they needed to. Davis, a sophomore, started the game and Rodriguez, a senior, finished it.

“One of the coaches brought up the (University of) Connecticut game,” said Pedroza. “They went 111 game without losing and they lost. In sports anything can happen.”