, Port Arthur, Texas

March 23, 2013

Best-ever Memorial soccer heads to playoffs

The Port Arthur News

LA PORTE — The ‘firsts’ just kept on coming Friday night for Port Arthur Memorial’s boys soccer team.

  Fourth-year head coach Clint Hoverson watched his Titans score three first-half goals and hold on for a 3-2 victory over La Porte at Abshier Stadium.

  The victory completed a 13-5-4 regular season and a 7-3-2 district season. Those easily represented all-time highs in both departments for the 11-year-old Memorial boys soccer program.

  The Titans also enter the 5A post-season for the first time next Thursday night against Pasadena Memorial in their bidistrict matchup in Baytown’s Stallworth Stadium. Hoverson indicated the rest of the arrangements would be finalized on Monday.

  This victory completed the first winning season overall and in district for Memorial boys soccer as well as the first post-season berth. The News game-by-game records revealed that Memorial never captured more than two district victories in any of its previous 10 campaigns. The closest year to an overall winning season occurred in 2003 – the first Memorial soccer season – when coach Rafael Hernandez guided the Titans to a 10-11-3 ledger.

  “This is a tremendous accomplishment for these young men, for our program and the community, especially to accomplish it in District 21-5A with schools like Deer Park and (Galena Park) North Shore,” Hoverson said. “It was sort of a bittersweet occasion though.”

  That’s because Memorial senior Omar Barajas Torres received two yellow cards during the game which rendered him ineligible to participate in the bidistrict round.

  Torres scored the game’s first goal in the 17th minute. Jose Manuel Figueroa followed with the Titans’ second goal at the 20-minute mark. Senior Ruben Galvan converted a penalty kick for a 3-0 edge with five minutes left in the first half.

  La Porte led in shots on goal 15-14 and Titans senior Antonio Briones had 11 saves. Hoverson believed his night’s top player was Jorge Morales for taking over control of the game.