Olivia Ramirez

Guyer’s Olivia Ramirez (23) shoots the ball on goal while being defended by Eaton’s Abigail McGuire (2) at Guyer High School, Friday, March 8, 2019, in Denton, Texas.

Guyer coach Mandy Hall said her team is still riding the excitement from Thursday night’s last-second bi-district championship win against Hebron, and now the Lady Wildcats will have an opportunity to add to that momentum Tuesday night.

Guyer, which is coming off its first playoff win since 2014, will take on Richardson Pearce at 7:30 p.m. at the new McKinney Stadium with a spot in the regional quarterfinals on the line.

The winner will advance to take on Trophy Club Nelson or Mansfield later this week.

“So many pieces of what we had talked about all year fell into place in that game last week,” Hall said. “That win should give them a lot of confidence because they’ve seen what they’re capable of now.”

The win against Hebron was a breakthrough for Hall’s program, which has experienced a great deal of success over the past two years despite losing in the first round of the playoffs last season. Guyer used a team effort, starting with the defensive play of Maddie Janolo, Hailey Lander, Taylor Hunter and Gabi Placke and the midfield effort of Lauren Avila, Rachel Brandt, Allie Lyons and Mariella Stephens.

The relentless energy throughout the lineup finally paid off with 10 seconds left when a shot from Ashley Carter ricocheted off the goalie, allowing Olivia Ramirez to score to give the Lady Wildcats a dramatic win.

“It’s hard to describe the feel and the energy that was in that stadium when we scored,” Hall said. “You really would have thought you were at a football game. People went nuts. It was awesome for the girls, and it was special because of the way it started with Maddie Janolo in the back and worked its way up. That’s the way we’ve played all year, and it really was a complete team win.

“It’s definitely a moment the girls will remember moving forward far past Guyer.”

To build on that performance against Pearce, Hall said the Lady Wildcats will again have to establish their style of play early. Pearce went 14-0 in district play and has won 15 straight games, including defeating Waxahachie 5-1 in the first round, forcing Guyer to emphasize the importance of getting things going right off the bat.

Although the Lady Mustangs cruised through district play, they lost to Hebron 6-1 in their second game of the season. The Lady Wildcats aren’t taking the game lightly, though, as they attempt to keep their season alive.

“It’s going to require every piece of our team every single night,” Hall said. “We’re asking the girls to keep that same level of energy. It’s going to take us playing a similar game to Hebron — we want to keep the ball on the ground and we can eliminate their size advantage. The way we start is going to be really important for us.”

Argyle boys, girls to take on Mineral Wells

After the Argyle boys and girls teams knocked off Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis in the first round, the teams will take on Mineral Wells in a doubleheader at Azle beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Lady Eagles enter the night riding a 13-game winning streak, and Mineral Wells (17-5-1) is coming off a 4-0 win against Graham on Friday. The Lady Rams finished as the runner up in District 6-4A, which included 2017 state champion Stephenville.

“They could win a lot of districts in 4A,” Argyle girls coach Marc Koke said. “They’re a really good team, and we’re going to need to play well to beat them.”

Tuesday night will mark the second meeting between the teams; Mineral Wells beat the Lady Eagles 1-0 on Jan. 3, the season opener, to fuel a 7-0 start. Koke said his team has improved dramatically since then.

“Earlier in the year, we were having trouble scoring,” Koke said. “Since the last time we played them, we have switched up our personnel and formations. We’ve been scoring a lot more recently, so hopefully the lineup we put out there will get it done this time around.”

While the Lady Eagles have put up ridiculous offensive numbers throughout the year, thanks in large part to 27 goals from Lily Coleman, their defense has also proven its case to be the backbone of the team. Argyle has allowed only 12 goals through 23 games.

The defense will be key as Mia Elder and Rachel Carter have scored 12 goals apiece to pace a senior-laden Lady Rams team.

The winner of Tuesday night’s matchup will play Castleberry or Brownwood.

“[Defense] is definitely a high priority,” Koke said. “Our three captains this year consist of two defenders and our goalkeeper, so we have lots of leadership on defense. We have a bunch of multi-year starters and a great freshman that head our back line.”

In the boys area-round matchup, Argyle will look to build on a 3-1 win against Diamond Hill-Jarvis.

The Eagles’ opponent, Mineral Wells, lost to Stephenville 6-1 in the district opener before winning five in a row — including in a shootout against Stephenville — to become the district champion. The Rams received a first round bye, though, and haven’t played since March 19.

“I think us playing last Friday gives us a little bit of an advantage,” Argyle boys coach Ben Parks said. “Nonetheless, Mineral Wells is a really good team, and we know they’ll be ready to play, no matter how long it has been since their last game.”

Mineral Wells (13-7-2) is led by sophomore forward Marvin Renteria, who has scored 16 goals this season.

During the second half of the Diamond Hill-Jarvis game, Argyle switched between a four-man and five-man back line to defend Jarvis’ speed. To slow Renteria, Parks said the Eagles will have to do everything they can to limit scoring chances for the talented sophomore.

On the other end of the field, Connor and Kyle Banar have done most of the offensive damage throughout the season for Argyle. Connor Banar has 28 goals, while Kyle Banar is second on the team with 15. Both scored in the second half of Friday’s game to seal the bi-district championship.

The winner between Argyle and Mineral Wells will play the winner of Wichita Falls Hirschi and Kennedale.

“We know we have some areas where we can exploit [Mineral Wells] to get scoring chances,” Parks said. “They have a really good player up front [Renteria], so we’ll need to be as sharp as ever on defense.”

— Contributing Writer Bronte Hermesmeyer

Lake Dallas boys hope to stay rolling against Mansfield Legacy

Lake Dallas survived a close encounter with Saginaw in the first round of the playoffs Thursday night, when the Falcons won 3-2 in extra time. Lake Dallas barely managed to barely escape with a win against a team it also played in the regular season

Now, entering the second round, there won’t be the same type of familiarity for the Falcons. Lake Dallas will play Mansfield Legacy at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Irving’s Ralph at Joy Ellis Stadium.

“Honestly, [we don’t] know much,” Martin said. “We talked about things we didn’t do versus Saginaw that would have put the game out of reach and wouldn’t have even made it go to overtime. Sometimes I like doing in this way, where you don’t know anything, it makes it a little more exciting.”

After a thrilling opening-round win, Lake Dallas extended its unbeaten streak and has not lost since Jan. 12.

Regardless, Martin and the team said they feel like the first-round performance was not their best showing, and they are eager to get back on the field with a chance to advance to the third round after losing in this second round last season. Mansfield Legacy finished as the second-place team in District 5-5A and is coming off a 2-0 win against Fort Worth Southwest.

“We watched video and realized we need to step up in order to continue our playoff run,” Martin said. “They understand that and they’re ready to step up. It’s second round, and it’s win or go home. Hopefully they can put the pressure aside and play with tenacity.”

— Contributing Writer Matthew Brune

BRADY KEANE can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @BradyKeane. 

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