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KLEIN CAIN’S SOPHIA ESCONTRIAS FOUND HER PASSION EARLY… SOCCER.
I guess there could be an argument who the alpha is on a soccer team. It could be a mid-fielder who touches the ball the most, or a fast-twitch, goalscoring forward. Most coaches would say the backbone is the goalie.
That is the case at Klein Cain. The Hurricanes made school history last season reaching the Regional Quarterfinals in the UIL playoffs. Protecting the goal was the first-teamer Escontrias. She returns to lead the ‘Canes in 2022.
“Goalies can make or break a game and I like the idea of being there for my team when they need me,” she said. “Not many people will accept the responsibility of being a goalie but as soon as I experienced it, I knew it was the position for me.”
So, why soccer? What drew her to the sport at an early age?
“I love the atmosphere that surrounds the sport,” she said. “I started soccer when I was five-years-old. It’s been my life. I’ve made so many connections through the sport and it’s made me such a confident person.”
Escontrias also pays it forward. The senior enjoys coaching the sport she loves to youth teams in the area. Like any other teen, she tunes into Netflix, loves music and enjoys time with her family.
“I got into coaching as a way to help young kids understand the game and find the love of soccer like my coaches did for me,” she said. She’s also looking to the future.
She’s committed to play soccer at St. Thomas and pursue her next passion.
“I plan on studying biology in college, which will lead me to my goal of earning my doctorate in physical therapy,” she said. “That’s the plan.”
KATY—Ridge Point girls soccer coach Evelyn Torres has a team with a lot to prove. So far, she likes what she sees, but she also knows the end game remains a long way.
The Panthers were highly regarded last season, one of the region’s favorites, before sputtering late and falling in the area playoffs.
“We weren’t able to go as far as we thought we should have,” Torres said. “The girls do have a chip on their shoulder and they’re ready to do what they’re supposed to.”
There is a different moxie to year’s Panthers. Eleven seniors graduated from last year. A few freshmen dot the roster. There is a new set of captains.
And while not many expected much out of Ridge Point this season, because of the newness and disappointing collapse last season, the Panthers are 5-0 after winning the highly competitive Falcon bracket of the 64-team I-10 Shootout tournament on Saturday at Legacy Stadium.
.@RPHSGirlsSoccer again! Looks like junior Hannah Warnken on the back tap. 2-0 Panthers, 6:55, 1H. @i10shootout @FBISDAthletics @RP_PantherPride @RPHS_Pantherspic.twitter.com/wDPflI8Iho— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1642278753
Ridge Point took down San Antonio Johnson, 1-0; nipped Katy Jordan, 1-0, in a game that was called at halftime after referees walked off due to conflict with the Jordan coach; and routed Cy-Woods, 5-1, in the bracket final. The Panthers are ranked No. 2 in Region III by Lethal Enforcer Soccer.
“They’ve proven themselves so far,” Torres said. “I think it’s about keeping it consistent and being hot at the right time. Last year, we were hot at the beginning but not at the end, and that’s when it counts.”
Junior Hannah Warnken said confidence and leadership needed to be better this season. Being named one of two captains along with senior Lauren Walker, Warnken took it personally to see to it that happened.
Along with Warnken and Walker, juniors Zoe Main and Charlotte Richardson have provided a capable, reliable core of leading talent.
Main “always finds a way” offensively, Torres said. Warnken’s high energy and intensity on the field are admirable constants. She had four of Ridge Point's five goals against Cy-Woods. Richardson is a magician possessing the ball and switching field, along with Walker. Richardson had a goal and two assists versus Cy-Woods.
What a shot by @RPHSGirlsSoccer junior Charlotte Richardson! A missile off the keeper. 1-0 Panthers, 27:56, 1H. @i10shootout @FBISDAthletics @RP_PantherPride @RPHS_Pantherspic.twitter.com/zYbr2ATZS6— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1642278055
The Panthers are buoyed with an influx of freshmen in Laurel Kelley, Emma Lovell, and Kelsey Vaughn who have quickly emerged as contributors.
“There’s a lot of new people,” Main said. “It’s brought a new environment. Everything is different.”
While Ridge Point has always been potent on the attack, its defense has taken considerable steps forward. A big reason why is junior transfer Georgia Mulholland from St. Agnes.
In the I-10 Shootout, Mulholland never left the field. She was recognized as one of the top players in the tournament.
“What’s helping is we’re trying to play more out of the back, balls to feet, communicating with each other,” Mulholland said. “We’re connecting with each other. We’re dropping in coverage … just really communicating well.”
The Panthers have allowed one goal in five games. A group of talented juniors that includes Taylor Vinson, Kara Canetti, and Alicia Audu has been with Torres since their freshman year.
The defense is reaping the rewards of their maturity and experience.
“We’ve used different goalies, and it’s been impressive that they’ve been able to adapt and do a good job,” Main said.
Chemistry is a boon for the Panthers, another testament to the leadership.
Warnken said the team has bonded well, on and off the field. It’s made it easier for them to learn to play together.
“Everyone thought we were going to drop off this year,” Main said. “I think we proved everyone wrong with this tournament, showing we are still as capable as last year and just as good. All it takes is determination and we’ve been working really hard.”
With the new dynamic of personnel has come a new approach.
“It’s about not getting cocky,” Main said. “Last year, we were rated really high, and I think it got to us and we started thinking we were better than what we were. This year, we have the right mindset. We’re not taking anything for granted. We’re approaching everything right.”
The Panthers’ fast start and slow finish last season exposed them to what is necessary.
“It’ll take a lot more practice,” Warnken said. “Definitely a lot more concentration, on and off the field. Not just games, but practices. All of it. No more goofing around. There is a thin line between having fun and staying focused.”
THE BAUTISTA NAME IN THE WRESTLING WORLD IS ONE OF LEGEND.
Jesus Bautista was an All-American and then his son, Joaquin Bautista, was a State Champion wrestler in New Mexico at Santa Fe High School before going on to wrestle at the University of Minnesota.
Joaquin then had three children – Christina, Joaquin Jr. and then Roberto.
Christina, who is now an assistant wrestling coach at Cinco Ranch High School, won a State Championship at Colleyville Heritage High School and was a two-time All-American. Joaquin Jr. was a state runner-up at Cy Lakes High School and now wrestles at University of the Ozarks.
That leaves the baby of the family – Roberto.
“It’s been a family sport for generations,” the Klein High senior said. “He’s been one to carry on the legacy in our family and we hope to do the same thing. We knew we were going to wrestle. We were going to keep it in our family forever. We expect us to be the best family in Texas in wrestling.”
Joaquin added: “I started him in the little kids program. Because I was competing and training so much, that was my chance to spend time with him. I’ve been developing him since he was small for this.”
In his sophomore season at Klein High School, where dad is in his third year as the head wrestling coach, Roberto took fourth at State and last year finished as a State runner-up.
Going through the ups and downs of a dad-coach relationship can be hard sometimes, Joaquin said, but having dad as his coach is something Roberto wouldn’t change and vice versa.
“It’s tough but it’s also really good because he pushes me more and more every day and makes me the best I can be,” Roberto said. “Overall, he makes me a good wrestler.”
Joaquin added: “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I know a lot of times coaches say, ‘I want my son or daughter to be coached by somebody else so they can be a regular kid’. I never wanted that. If I have the expertise, why put your kid’s career in someone else’s hands?”
Since that State title loss, Joaquin said Roberto has been working out non-stop to not only get back to that match but to be standing on top of the podium when it’s all said and done. “He’s the best one out of all of us at his age,” Joaquin said. “He’s way better than I was, which is the way it’s supposed to be. There’s a lot of pressure, he’s got to perform.”
But what we really want to know is – who wins on the mat between father and son?
“I could take him down every once in a while, but he’s got that old-man strength,” Roberto said.
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