For two squads with state championship aspirations, things went according to plan for the University High School soccer teams Thursday night.
The second-seeded Lady Cubs started off the goal-heavy doubleheader with a 5-0 win over Grace Christian before the second-seeded boys team sent the fans home happy with a 7-0 win over Christian Life.
“That’s one down, so that’s exciting getting to the next round,” U-High boys coach Chris Mitchell said. “We had all of our starters in for that first half and kept them healthy for the next round. That’s the No. 1 thing.”
Working through their veteran-laden midfield, the Cubs controlled possession for much of the night and peppered Christian Life goalkeeper Matthew Murray with 14 shots on goal.
Junior Major Mittendorf and senior captain Thomas Kobetz led the way with two goals apiece.
“We’ve been playing well together all year,” said Mittendorf who scored the only goal in the second half after the Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead.
“We definitely have the goal to win state, but we can’t take any game lightly.”
Both of Kobetz’s goals came off of corner kicks from junior Miguel Vilas in the last 10 minutes of the first half. In addition to his two-set piece assists, Vilas opened the game’s scoring with a goal in the ninth minute.
“Having already lost to them earlier this season, we knew coming in that we were going to be playing a strong team,” Christian Life coach Danilo Brizuela said. “We just wanted to work hard until the end of the game and give it everything we got.”
U-High Girls 5, Grace Christian 0: Making her mark just as soon as the game began, Lady Cubs forward Jessica Shelby was a thorn in Grace Christian’s side all afternoon. She notched a hat trick and added an assist in U-High’s 5-0 win.
“She had some phenomenal goals,” U-High coach Melissa Ramsey said of Shelby.
“I want us to fight from the beginning. We need that type of attitude.”
Shelby’s first goal came in the second minute, when she recovered a loose ball in the goalkeeper’s box and laced a shot that careened off of the right post and found its way into the net.
She doubled her total in the 26th minute after an awry goal kick from GCA goalkeeper Sarah Ray went right to Shelby at the top of the box. The junior forward calmly lined up her shot before firing it into top corner of the goal.
Having already gotten her fill of goals for the first half, Shelby then set up a goal for Mary Nader with a pass across the box to the sophomore.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Shelby said. “We had such good team work with our passing.
“Every team has things to work on, but I think we’re strong going in.”
After a penalty kick goal by Lady Cubs captain Hannah Hyman made it 4-0, Shelby notched her third goal with two minutes left in the game to complete the hat trick.
Despite the score, Ray turned in a solid performance in goal against U-High’s constant pressure with eight saves.
“That was one of the best games she has played,” Grace Christian coach Emily Breaux said of Ray. “I’m really proud of all my girls, they played really well.”