AP NEWS

Spring Woods soccer clinches district championship

March 11, 2019

The Spring Woods boys soccer team did not lack for motivation the week before spring break.

First up was rival Northbrook, then an improved Memorial team that handed the Tigers their only district loss, all with the 17-6A championship potentially within reach.

“They’re both our rivals,” Spring Woods coach Wadey Yaya said. “Northbrook is our north side rival. Memorial is our south side rival. These are the two teams we want to get six points against. It was a big week for us.”

The Tigers completed the season sweep against Northbrook on March 5, sweeping El Clasico 3-0 as Charles Grollitsch scored twice, Jason Martinez added a goal and Cesar Cabrera assisted two.

Back on home turf, Spring Woods struck early and often in a 6-1 victory against Memorial. The Mustangs, who entered the night holding the fourth playoff spot in a competitive nine-team district, defeated Spring Woods 3-2 one month earlier.

“That was the first thing on our mind — we’ve got to get Memorial back,” junior defender Uriel Rocha said. “We’ve got to win here at home in front of our fans.”

The Tigers (16-2-2 overall, 10-1-2 district), had more to celebrate by the end of the night. Jersey Village’s 1-0 win against second-place Cypress Falls clinched the district championship for Spring Woods with three matches remaining.

“It means the world to us,” Grollitsch said. “It gives us a chance to show the school what we have and show everyone in Houston we have a great team.”

Senior Rodrigo Marquez put the Tigers in front in the second minute of the match, scoring shortly after subbing for an injured starter.

“I think that goal started everything,” Grollitsch said. “It’s always our game plan to start out quick and to finish a team as quick as possible.”

The teams exchanged corner kicks but few good looks until Carlos Lopez’s short cross through the box set up the first of Grollitsch’s three goals. Lopez made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute.

The Tigers were not finished. Moments after Jackson Gill nearly put Memorial on the board, Grollitsch scored twice in less than a minute for a commanding 5-0 halftime lead.

“It’s been the last three games we’ve been playing really well,” Yaya said. “We’ve been moving the ball. I think Charlie has scored seven goals in the last three games. He’s the leading scorer. I think he’s up to 11 in district. A lot of players are starting peak a little bit.”

Spring Woods scored once in the second half, with Rocha skillfully slicing a shot back into the right side of the net. He also helped anchor the defense in the second half. Benjamin Davila took a shutout into the 78th minute, with Saif Hassoon breaking through for the Mustangs.

“I love it,” Rocha said. “Everybody is working together and working as a team. That’s how it should be.”

The Tigers were set to face Cy-Fair on March 11, closing district play at home against Cypress Falls for senior night March 19 and at Jersey Village on March 22.

Memorial had Cypress Ridge at home March 12 and a March 19 game at Cypress Creek left on the schedule.

The Mustangs started March near the top of a five-team pack with Cy Ridge, Stratford, Northbrook and Jersey Village. All were separated by merely four points fighting for two playoff spots.

Memorial did pick up a key 4-0 win against rival Stratford earlier in the week. Salam George scored twice, while Cesar Delgado recorded a goal and an assist and Marco Dias scored. Maxwell Mouer and Stokely Hays added assists.

Spring Branch ISD could have five teams in the playoffs, with the district thriving in girls 17-6A competition.

Defending state champion Memorial leads the pack at 12-0-1, maintaining its lead on Cy-Fair with a 5-0 win against Spring Woods and a 2-0 victory against Stratford, which is in the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Northbrook stood alone in fourth place after a 2-0 win against Spring Woods and 4-1 victory against Cypress Ridge.

The Raiders improved to 7-5-2 in district and remain in position for their first playoff berth in six years. They played fifth-place Cypress Creek in a key match March 11 and will host Memorial in their season finale March 22.