AP NEWS

Cy Lakes soccer playing in the moment through Coach Cartagena

March 21, 2019

The Cy Lakes varsity soccer team entered the 2018-19 campaign with a new group that featured plenty of young athletes and only a pair of seniors.

Despite clinching a postseason berth a couple of weeks ago with a junior heavy team, the Spartans haven’t settled as they’ve been battling for playoff positioning.

People may already be saying that Cy Lakes is coming back next year with a strong team, but all head coach Franklin Cartagena tells the team is: ‘We got to live today.’

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow; I live life valuing more today,” Cartagena said. “I lost my sister and my cousin two years ago to cancer. They were young and that constantly reminds that today is all we have, so we might as well give it all we have right now, and I kind of bring that to the game.”

Cy Lakes (19-2-2, 13-2-1) is currently second in the District 14-6A standings alongside first-place Cy Ranch, Langham Creek and Cy Springs.

“We got to enjoy today,” Cartagena said. “Next year some kid can move, get called into some club team or development academy, all kinds of things can happen. So now is our time that we are trying to hopefully make something happen.”

The Spartans are a youthful and very dangerous team, but Cartagena also agrees that they need to mature.

“A lot of young guys that are willing to really step up,” Cartagena said. “We’ve got some talent, it’s just a matter of finding the maturity.”

Preparing for postseason

Cy Lakes finished fourth a year ago with an 16-5-5 overall and 5-3-3 district record in the old District 17-6A, beating Sam Houston in the bi-district round 3-0 and losing to Cinco Ranch in the area round 3-1. The squad finished first in district in 2016.

This year, the Spartans have already had plenty of playoff-type games this campaign, thanks to a tough district schedule.

After Langham Creek had shutout Cy Lakes and took a 1-0 lead at halftime, Cartagena’s team turned it around the rest of the way as junior Marcus Rangel scored two goals and Brandon Tuch one goal to secure the 3-1 win, March 15, at Langham Creek. The Spartans will enter a bye, March 22, to finish the district season.

“It was definitely a great test,” Cartagena said. “It prepared us (for playoffs), I mean they’re always a tough team. Langham is a tough place to play, not a lot of people get to beat them here and it’s a great honor for us to be able to compete with them.”

The Spartans lost to Cy Springs (4-2) and Cy Ranch (2-0) in back-to-back games in February and tied Tomball Memorial (0-0). Cy Ranch, Langham Creek and Cy Lakes all clinched postseason spots in early March.

“Can’t have a bad half and a good half, especially in playoffs, which is a brand new season, everybody has a chance and we just got to be ready,” Cartagena said.

The Spartans beat Cy Springs and Cy Ranch the first time they met 4-3 and 1-0, respectably, and also beat Cy Park (1-0), Cy Woods (2-1), Bryan (7-0), Langham Creek (1-0) and Bridgeland (3-0).

After losing to the Panthers and Mustangs, beside beating the Lobos (3-1), the team also beat Cy Woods again (3-0), Bryan again (6-0), Tomball Memorial (2-0) and Bridgeland again (4-0).

Looking ahead

The captains for Cartagena are senior Eduardo Pelaez in the back and Rangel and junior Brandon Marin in the middle.

He’s (Pelaez) kind of our leading senior,” Cartagena said. “Rangel is also a junior, scored two goals at Langham Creek, and Marin is really our goal scorer.”

The other senior on the team is Alan Lopez. In total, the roster includes 13 juniors, three sophomores and two seniors.

“Kids that play hard, play together, we know how to knock the ball, but we just still got to be consistent as well,” Cartagena said.

Regardless of how the junior-heavy team finishes the year, it’s helpful knowing that the program is set up for the future.

“That is also very good, it’s awesome,” Cartagena said. “To have a team that is coming back pretty much almost everybody, we can continue to work and grow and like I said, continue to mature. We’ll be a year older, maybe hopefully bigger, stronger. For size, we’re small and we’re going to hit that weight room and hopefully match the physically of a lot of teams.

“We’re grateful for every opportunity we get to play, I’m blessed to be part of this group.”

alvaro.montano@chron.com