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New lineup leads Seven Lakes’ district title defense

January 7, 2019

The Seven Lakes boys soccer program had an exceptional 2018 season, winning the district championship at every level.

The Spartans finished 19-3-2 overall, winning 19-6A as well as a playoff match. The junior varsity Orange team was a perfect 22-0-0, while the JV Blue squad was 18-1-3.

Seven Lakes returned only three letter winners from last year’s varsity team, as senior midfielder Nico Molina, senior defender Isaac Peterson and junior midfielder J.P. Dominguez remain core players. The rest of the roster is filled by skilled varsity newcomers who contributed to a dominant JV season.

“Our team this year is interesting,” Seven Lakes coach Darryl Metcalfe said. “We only have three players back from last year’s varsity, but we have 19 seniors. We had a junior-laden JV last year. A lot of them could have played varsity anywhere else. We had two really strong classes back to back.”

The Spartans actually brought up their coach from the JV as well, though he is hardly a novice. Metcalfe is serving as interim head coach with an unexpected chance to build on a resume’ that includes 405 victories and two state tournament appearances.

He reached state with Katy Taylor before becoming the program’s first coach at Seven Lakes in 2005. After five years as Spartans’ head coach, Metcalfe said he wanted to focus on teaching, becoming the SLHS social studies department chair. But he filled a need last year at the JV level, getting back on the sideline.

“The kids have handled it well,” Metcalfe said. “They like me and I’m getting to know them. It was a little hard because I’ve been working with the JV kids all year. I knew the (varsity players) but I didn’t know who you could push or the temperament of the different kids.”

Seven Lakes’ first week of play went well, with a 2-0-1 finish in its portion of the Katy ISD MOJO Showcase. The Spartans cruised past Memorial 5-0 in the season opener Jan. 3, highlighted by Dominguez’s three goals.

They hosted 2018 state runner-up San Antonio Reagan the following night, playing to a 1-1 draw as Peterson earned “Man of the Match” honors.

“I felt like we had a lot more of the play,” Metcalfe said. “But that game was really intense. It was more like a playoff-type atmosphere.”

The Spartans were a bit shorthanded toward the end of the tournament, with two players in Florida for another showcase event and minor injuries catching up. Metcalfe said the team was down to three bench players by the end of a 2-1 victory Jan. 5 against Aldine Davis.

Seven Lakes started to create prime scoring chances during the latter part of the first half against Davis, with only a great save stopping a point-blank shot by Vicente Garcia in the 24th minute. Merely two minutes later, Dominguez crossed to William Wallace for a 1-0 lead.

It took two minutes for the Spartans to score again. Dominguez had ample space in the middle of the field after a deflection, having time to make the chest trap, settle and bury a shot into the open side of the net. The Spartans were turned away by Davis’ second keeper on a few second-half chances, while only an own goal kept Andre Schlaefli from another clean sheet.

Seven Lakes travels to the Austin Lakes Elite Showcase to face 2018 regional finalist McKinney Boyd, area champion Pasadena Dobie and Austin Westlake. The Spartans open 19-6A play Jan. 30 against Tompkins, which advanced to the regional tournament last year.

“Hopefully we’ll get some guys healthy and be ready for district,” Metcalfe said. “I think Tompkins is probably the clear favorite. I watched them play the other night. They looked fantastic. All our kids know their kids. They all play club ball together, so they’re all friends.”

The Falcons likely had KISD’s most impressive showing at the MOJO Showcase, defeating San Antonio Reagan 4-0, Magnolia West 5-1 and Austin Vandegrift 3-0.

Mayde Creek had a solid start, including a 3-0 win against Fort Bend Austin and a scoreless draw against Cypress Springs. Katy tied Alief Taylor and Clear Brook, while Taylor opened with a 4-1 victory against Shadow Creek.

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