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The Woodlands Highlanders have always been a state power in soccer. This year was no different as the Highlanders ran the table in district play en route to the postseason. One of the stand-outs inside The Woodlands' program is all-district selection Cody Tice, who will return for his senior season next year.
For now, he's off to the club circuit where he plays for the Dynamo Unidos ECNL and MLS team.
"My dad grew up playing soccer and he got me into it," he said. "As soon as I touched the ball, I fell in love with the sport."
The sport has taken him across the globe.
"I've gotten to play in Mexico and France during my time playing soccer," he said. "You get a different perspective about how big the sport of soccer really is."
As he enters his junior summer, Tice knows the importance of the next few months as he is trying to play at the college level.
"I'm just really looking for a good fit," he said about a college choice. "I'm a competitor, so I'm looking for a program that is in the mix for championships."
At forward, Tice can score with both feet, he's athletic enough to get to headers and is constantly pushing to get better. He has plus speed and his frame can hold up to physical play.
"My strength is definitely my speed and vision for the game," he said.
HOUSTON – There has been a lot of shakeup in the girls soccer playoffs this season.
Perennial powers such as Katy Tompkins and Kingwood Park and previously undefeated teams like Ridge Point are not playing this weekend.
But then there are teams like Bay City in 4A, Friendswood in 5A and XXXX in 6A that will be amongst the Regional Final matches.
So, who has made it one step closer to state and plays tonight for a ticket? Check out VYPE's Girls Soccer Regional Fiinal Preview below.
Class 6A Region III
Cy-Fair vs MemorialFriday, April 9 at 6 p.m. (Tully Stadium)
Memorial is back in the Regional Finals and has done it by force.
The last time the Mustangs went this far it ended with coach Lindley Amarantos getting a celebratory ice bath on the sidelines of Birkelbach Field in Georgetown as the Class 6A State Champions in 2018.
This year, the Mustangs are 21-3-2 and have outscored opponents 94-13.
In the playoffs, Memorial has defeated Westside (9-0), Katy (8-0), Stratford (5-1) and Clear Creek (3-0) to get back to the Regional Final for the first time in four seasons.
Standing in their way of that next trip to the state tournament is Cy-Fair.
This is another team on an historic run this season, reaching the Regional Finals for the first time in program history. The Bobcats prior to this season had only been as far as the Regional Semifinals, but that last trip there came all the way back in 2005.
Cy-Fair in the playoffs has defeated Heights (3-0), previously undefeated Ridge Point (3-1), Seven Lakes (1-0) and then Beaumont West Brook (2-0) to reach this round. Cy-Fair is 24-2-1 on the year and went 11-2-1 in district play, outscoring foes 95-13.
This meeting between Memorial and Cy-Fair will be the third of the season since they are in the same district.
Memorial won the first meeting, 2-0, back on February 10 but in the second meeting they teams tied 0-0. Memorial won the district title with Cy-Fair finishing in second.
This is going to be a good matchup, who breaks the tie in the season series and punches their ticket to the UIL State Soccer Tournament?
Class 6A Region II
The Woodlands vs Lake RidgeFriday, April 9 at 6 p.m. (Manor Athletic Complex)
The Woodlands is back in the Regional Finals.
The Highlanders are back in this round for the first time since 2017, ending a four-year drought. Now, The Woodlands will try and get to the UIL State Soccer Tournament for the first time since 2010., which is the same year it won its lone state title in program history.
To get here, The Woodlands defeated Spring (7-0), Cypress Woods (5-0), Tomball (5-0) and then defeated Mansfield (2-2 (7-6 in PKs)).
Heading into tonight's match, The Woodlands is 22-2 on the year, went a perfect 10-0 in district and has outscored opponents 99-9 this year. In the playoffs, they have three shutouts, outscoring foes 19-2.
Senior Marley Krach leads the team with 15 goals and six assists, while Katherine Williams has eight goals and six assists, Gracie Britten has seven goals and six assists and Samone Knight has seven goals and a team-leading 18 assists. Sophomore Janey Kauppinen has 11 assists.
Class 5A – Region III
Friendswood vs MagnoliaFriday, April 9 at 7 p.m. (Huffman ISD Stadium)
Here … we … go!
The 5A Region III crown will go to a new team for the first time since 2017.
Let's start with Magnolia. The Bulldogs are an impressive 24-1 this season and have outscored opponents 128-6, which is a ridiculous goal differential in high school soccer. Reaching the Regional Finals is a big deal for this program since it is just the second time doing it ever.
The last time Magnolia found itself this deep in the playoffs was back in 2013, when it did win the Regional Final and advance to the State Semifinals. Prior to this year the last time for the program to get past the area round was in 2015.
Magnolia reached this round by defeating Lake Creek (5-1), Pflugerville Hendrickson (2-1), Anderson – which knocked off Kingwood Park – (3-0) and then Foster (4-0). The most impressive thing at this point of the playoffs is the back-to-back shutouts by Magnolia.
Friendswood stands on the other side of the bracket in this one.
The Mustangs are not foreign to playing this deep in the playoffs, it just has been a while since they have gotten here. Reaching the Regional Finals this year marks the 12th time in program history to do so and the first time since 2014.
Friendswood has been to the State Semifinals eight time, the State Championship match four times and won it all back in 2001.
So, is this team to get back there?
Friendswood is 23-2-2 this season, went 16-0 in district play and has outscored opponents 117-10 this year, winning 20-straight matches to this point.
In the playoffs, Friendswood has defeated Crosby (6-0), Fort Bend Kempner and Port Neches-Groves in penalty kicks and then A&M Consolidated 2-0 to reach the Regional Final.
The standout for Friendswood this year has been sophomore Olivia Schmidt, who in 27 matches has netted 34 goals and registered 17 assists. Junior Emma Saldana has 10 goals, junior Cameryn Peter has nine goals and 17 assists, freshman Malak Soliman has nine goals and eight assists, senior Pumarie Madden has 14 assists and senior Emmye Outland has 10 assists.
This team leader in goals may be Schmidt, but Friendswood has nine players with seven or more goals to their name.
Back in net it has been a pair of sophomores holding it down. Kaylin Hernandez has gotten the majority of the playing time, registering 1,520 minutes in net with 65 saves and 15 shutouts. Friendswood is 17-2-2 when she is back in net. Fellow sophomore Ellen Fairbanks has 24 saves and is 10-0 when back in net.
This is going to be a fun showdown between two 5A powers that are a combined 47-3-2 this season and have netted 245 combined goals.
Class 4A – Region III
Bay City vs Salado Friday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. (College Station HS)
This is a historic season for Bay City.
For the first time in program history, they are playing for a spot in the UIL State Soccer Tournament. The last time prior to this year that they reached the regional semis was in 2017 and then prior to that was 2016. Never have they played in a Regional Final.
Bay City to get to this point defeated North Forest (11-0), Vidor (3-1), Little Cypress-Mauriceville (3-2) and then Lake Belton (3-2).
On top of everything the Blackcats are undefeated. They are a perfect 25-0 heading into this match, having outscored their opponents 137-13 this season. In the playoffs, the goal differential has been plus-15, outscoring foes 20-5.