STRESS TEST: Lady Cardinals ready to embrace tonight’s challenge

HARLINGEN — The scenario heading into tonight’s Battle of the Arroyo couldn’t be any more straightforward for the Harlingen Lady Cardinals. Win and they grab, at the very least, a share of the District 32-6A title. Lose and they risk finishing the regular season as the No. 3 seed.

For players and fans alike, tonight’s contest carries all the trademarks of a postseason contest.

Anticipation? Check.

Excitement? Check.

Anxiety? Check.

High stakes? Double check.

The challenge placed in front of the Lady Cardinals is not new nor is it easy. The San Benito Lady Greyhounds have dramatically improved over the past two seasons and have defeated the district’s top team (Weslaco) not once, but twice this year.

For junior Arial Leal, tonight’s contest comes with both a feeling of elation and anxiety.

“I feel excited and a little nervous,” said Leal. “It’s going to be a big game because it’s for the district title. Just thinking about it makes me get those little butterflies.

“For us, our motivation is to just come out with a win, working together with the girls and just playing together. We’ve gotten closer and adjusted better to how we each play and it’s just a lot better than in the beginning.”

Coming into the season one of the goals the Lady Cards set was to come out and win district. Make no mistake about it, they are ready to achieve that goal.

“The team is ready,” said Harlingen head coach Ashley Moncivaiz. “I keep telling everybody that each game we play in district we have to go in there ready to play like it’s a playoff game. We have to be ready for them (San Benito) because they are going to be ready for us.”

What’s at stake:

-The winner of tongiht’s game between San Benito and Harlingen clinches at least a share of the District 32-6A title.

-If Weslaco wins at Los Fresnos tonight, the Lady Panthers win a share of the District 32-6A crown along with the winner between San Benito and Harlingen

-If Los Fresnos beats Weslaco, the winner between San Benito and Harlingen wins the outright league championship.