Tears. Tears are what we saw on the eyes of the unlucky Rockwall High School soccer player who was captured mourning over their penalty kick loss in the state playoffs last March. While that photo sparked what turn out to be a huge and light-heartened social media feud between the always prideful students of Jesuit and those of Rockwall, it showcased much more. It showed the raw emotion, pageantry, and the true disheartening feeling of losing, and especially losing in soccer. This might be the most beautiful thing about the sport of soccer, the incredible emotion the game is played with. Crazy and fanatical die-hard fans screaming chants the whole game, players traveling the globe and leaving their countries for the pure love of the game; it’s a beautiful thing to witness. The same holds true for the Jesuit Rangers soccer team. The team plays with a passion and heart that the Ranger faithful has come to grow accustomed to seeing from their sports team.
This was seen clearly by last year Jesuit soccer team. The 2012-2013 Rangers soccer team had a very successful season, winning the Meinster soccer tournament to start the season and riding that hot start all the way to the third round playoff round against McKinney Boyd. The Rangers took on a very talented Bronco team and lost the match, dropping them out of the playoffs and ending the high school soccer careers of the seniors of 2013. What a talented group of players that was with such young men as Matt Mills ’13, Sergio Falvo ’13, Bubba Chavez ’13 and Chris Mathis ’13 (now playing at the University of Chicago). Yet while those seniors were a big piece in the puzzle of Jesuit soccer, they handed over the baton to a then very capable junior class and now senior class.
Returning seniors from that squad are varsity veterans Juan de Dios Torres, Gavin Patterson, Guy Harris, and Chris Weingerski. Joining them are juniors Ben Sloan and the goalie Collin Buechele, alongside varsity newcomers super sophomores Patrick Howell and Giovanni Montesdeoca. Senior leader and the best looking in the team Guy Harris commented that “Patrick and Gio both have great touch and pace and he enjoys playing with them.” The Rangers’ talent was made apparent as before the season began in January as they were ranked by ESR soccer as the state’s 8th ranked team.
They started off the 2013-2014 conquest with a scrimmage against McKinney Boyd on January 3rd, perhaps in a friendly way to get revenge for last year’s playoff loss. This night went to the Rangers as they won 2-0 behind a goal from Howell and Patterson . After this the warm up the Rangers seemed to be poised for the season opener at the annual Meinster tourney.
They took on rival Bishop Lynch in the first game of the tourney and in the first game of the season. The game started at 2:00 PM on a school day, which gave a lot of students an opportunity to go out to Postell Stadium and watch some soccer. “Gio” started off the scoring with a one touch rip from a good 30 yards out with 9 minutes left in the first half, and finished it off with a runner to the corner of the net in the second half to send the Rangers to a comfortable 2-0 win against the Friars.
They advanced to play the North Mesquite Stallions the next night. Once again it was the Rangers who pulled away with a 2-0 victory this time behind a free kick laser from the foot of Chris Wengierski. That win matched them up with Flower Mound Marcus in the championship of the Meinster. Marcus provided a formidable opponent as they are ranked the #1 team in the state of Texas. For the first time in the season the Rangers were outplayed and were on the wrong side of a 2-0 game. After the championship loss, Patterson commented that “they just were more physical and cashed in on their opportunities and we didn’t.”
With a 2-1 record but with experience under their belts, or rather shin guards, they entered the Duncanville tournament the weekend of January 19th. They first took on Arlington Sam Houston. At the end of regulation the scoreboard read 1-1 from a goal from Ross Miniguitti ’14 so they went to PK’s. Jesuit proved victorious in the extra time and pulled out the win. Next they took on Midlothian High School. In a burst of offensive firepower, the Rangers torched the back of the net totaling 5 goals and allowing 0, winning 5-0. They then took on Duncanville I’m the final game of the tournament and tied them at a score of 1-1 leaving with a record that reads 4-1-1.
The Rangers are off to a hot start in what is sure to be an exciting season. So grab your stadium seat, vuvuzela and scarf and come and watch some Jesuit Ranger soccer.