HARLINGEN — District 32-6A girls soccer kicks off Friday with a host of interesting games on tap, none more compelling than the matchup between Harlingen South and Harlingen High.
This season, the annual crosstown rivalry promises to be a highly contested match pitting two of the district’s best against one another.
This year the Lady Cardinals come into the league season ready to make some noise and prove that they belong among the conference’s best.
In the Brownsville CISD Tournament earlier this season, the Lady Cards went an impressive 9-1 and won the silver bracket championship.
“We have really come together as a team this season and the girls trust each other,” said Harlingen coach Debra Hernandez. “Our motto this year is “strong alone, unstoppable together.” We know that we can win if the girls play together and play with passion.”
The injury bug has already snuck its head around the team, but as Coach Hernandez said, “injuries are a part of the game.”
“We did lose starter Julissa Munivez to an ACL injury at the Brownsville tourney, but all we can do is move forward and prepare the girls for the season and look to all our players to step up when needed,” said Hernandez. “We hope we can stay injury free from here on out, but we play a rough sport and we know injuries can happen.”
The Lady Cards will have options entering Friday’s game as Coach Hernandez will have eight returning starters available against Harlingen South.
Over the past 21 years, history has not been on the Lady Cardinals’ side. Over the course of that period, Harlingen has won just five games over their crosstown rivals.
For the Lady Hawks, injuries have already taken a toll as head coach Omar Pedroza has already lost three starters to ACL injuries, including starters Reid Davis and Evelyn Yanez.
During preseason the Lady Hawks went 4-2 in the Edcouch-Elsa Tournament and 2-0-1 at the Donna North Tournament.
Regardless of injuries, the schedule only gets tougher for the storied Harlingen South program.
“We start off against some really tough competition. We have Harlingen, Los Fresnos and then we have Brownsville Hanna. It almost seems unfair,” said Pedroza with a chuckle.
“Due to the injuries, some the players that don’t get a lot of playing time have been getting more game time and they have been doing well. I’m just hoping that when Friday comes along they keep doing what they have been doing and playing hard and playing well. It’s going to be hard to replace those starters, but the girls that are filling in are doing a really good job.”
Friday’s match is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Boggus Stadium.