MIDLOTHIAN — The Jaguars earned their second win in District 10-5A girls' soccer after claiming a gritty, hard-fought victory over Alvarado High School on Friday at MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium.
Honoring seniors Vicky Reyes, Kim Jackson, and Morgan McNutt during the program's Senior Night made the match's final score that much sweeter.
"My seniors have been great this year. The maturity they have shown and effort they put in has been very good," said Gerald Slovacek, the girls' head soccer coach at Midlothian Heritage High School. "We have a good mix of senior leadership and the right personalities to be able to mesh the seniors with the younger players. The fact we had a majority of our team return and had a year playing under the same system has helped tremendously. The three freshman that made varsity have fit right in and have elevated the team's overall performance. All those factors have been a big reason why we are where we are right now."
His (13-3-2, 2-0-0) Jaguars aren't only undefeated in district play, though. They are the No. 15 girls 4A soccer team in the state per Monday's Texas Girls Coaches Association State Poll.
Though the first half ended scoreless — via a shutout performance by goalkeeper Megan McCarthy that kept the score sheet blank for the visiting Lady Indians — the Jaguars rallied in the second.
And their first score of the game couldn't be any prettier.
After nearly juking an Alvarado defender out of her socks with a deft dribble down the field, Reyes hit an unassisted bending goal that skirted the outreached hands of the Lady Indians' keeper — just under the top bar — and into the net. The second score of the night came via the foot of Leah Chancey and a Kendall Shirley assist with little less than six minutes left in the second half.
"The Alvarado match was just as I expected, physical and fast," Slovacek said. "Even the games last year were hard fought matches. We didn't capitalize on a lot of the opportunities we had during the match. The longer the game went on, the more confidence Alvarado got and the harder we had to fight to put the match away. It taught us we have to learn to take advantage of scoring opportunities."
Alvarado answered with its first and only goal of the night in the waning moments of the game, beating the Midlothian Heritage backside defense on a cross pass in the six-yard box.
The Jaguars were scheduled to play Venus High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bulldog Stadium. The Lady Bulldogs fell 11-0 to Alvarado on Feb. 7.
"Our team is beginning to train at the level that I expect," Slovacek said about his team's evolution throughout the season. "The group has to stay focused and work every day in practice at a fast, competitive, game type pace. If we continue to do that, I believe our season will be successful."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.