The University Interscholastic League high school soccer playoffs are down to eight team per region, with the quarterfinals taking place Monday and Tuesday this week before the regional tournaments this weekend.
On the boys side, 14 area teams remain in contention for titles in Region III-5A, Region II-5A, and Region III-4A, including several teams with Dynamo Academy connections - although several players at the U-16 level are missing high school action to participate in the Dallas Cup.
In Region III-5A, the quarterfinal matchups are set for Tuesday night. Defending regional champion Katy and junior midfielder Adrian Mendoza, a long-time contributor to Dynamo Academy teams, squeaked through the bi-district and area rounds with a 2-1 overtime win over Alief Elsik and a shootout win over Houston Westside last Thursday. Mendoza scored in both games. Katy will face unbeaten Strake Jesuit, which boasts Dynamo Academy and Notre Dame commit Pat Wall, in the marquee game of the round Tuesday at 7 pm at Strake. Jesuit junior Abe Matamoros, one of the Dynamo Academy's leading scorers, is out due to injury.
Other matchups include perennial contender Kingwood taking on Katy Cinco Ranch (which includes 2009 Dynamo Academy Players' Player of the Year Reagan Haisler at center back); Fort Bend Clements taking on Galena Park North Shore; and Brazoswood facing Clear Lake.
Fort Bend Clements vs. Galena Park North Shore, March 30, 5 pm, Abshier Stadium, Deer Park
Katy at Strake Jesuit, March 30, 7 pm, Strake Jesuit
Brazoswood vs. Clear Lake, March 30, 7 pm, The Rig, Pearland
Kingwood vs. Katy Cinco Ranch, March 30, 7 pm, Galena Park ISD Stadium
Only two Houston-area districts are placed in Region II, and Houston has placed two teams in the region's final eight. District 14-5A champion The Woodlands advanced with wins over local teams Klein Forest (7-0) and Cy Woods (1-0). The Highlanders, always strong, are led by junior defender Conner Mowery, a starter for the Dynamo Academy at the U-18 level, and goalkeeper Cody Schlegel, a regular on the U-16 squad. The Woodlands will face Georgetown in the quarterfinals in the first game of a doubleheader at Brenham on Tuesday. On Monday night, District 15-5A champion Cy Falls will take on Round Rock Westwood in another game held in Brenham. Cy Falls includes Christian Diaz and Michael Diaz, both from the Dynamo's U-16 team.
Cy Falls vs. Round Rock Westwood, March 29, 8 pm, Brenham HS
The Woodlands vs. Georgetown, March 30, 6 pm, Brenham HS
At the 4A level, four Houston-area teams remain - one in each quarterfinal matchup. The closest team to home is District 43-4A runner-up Houston Lee, which has posted shutout wins over Houston Wheatley, Friendswood, and Houston Reagan to reach a quarterfinal matchup against Del Valle in College Station on Tuesday. Up north of Bush Intercontinental Airport, third-year varsity program Humble Kingwood Park - a regional semifinalist last year - remains ubeaten and will face Manor Tuesday night in Brenham. K-Park includes Dynamo Academy forward Isaiah Noreiga, who recently earned a spot on the Trinidad & Tobago U-17 national team.
Defending regional champion Brenham finished second in its district but advanced with wins over Beaumont Central and Huntsville to face Waco University High Monday night in Georgetown. The Cubs finished second in District 40-4A to Waller, which cruised past Hamshire-Fannett 5-0 in the area round before pulling out a 1-0 win over Port Neches-Groves in the sectional round. Waller will face Hewit Midway on Tuesday at a site still to be announced as of Monday morning.
Brenham vs. Waco University, March 29, 6 pm, Georgetown
Waller vs. Hewit Midway, March 30, site TBA
Houston Lee vs. Del Valle, March 30, 7:30 pm, College Station
Kingwood Park vs. Manor, March 30, 8 pm, Brenham
Several Dynamo South Texas Academy players are still involved as well, with Mission Sharyland facing powerhouse Bronwsville Lopez in the Region IV-4A quarterfinals. In fact, 12 different players from the DSTA go to Sharyland. Goals from midfielder Alex Delagarza, on a penalty kick, and Gerardo Garza, on a long-range blast, opened the Rattler scoring in the 4-2 area-round win over Brownsville Porter. Lopez will likely be a tougher test; the Lobos reached the 5A championship game last year and are the top-ranked team in the Rio Grande Valley.
On the girls' side, Region III-5A quarterfinal matchups include Katy Seven Lakes vs. Houston Lamar; defending regional champion Clear Lake vs. Deer Park; Katy Cinco Ranch vs. Kingwood; and Fort Bend Austin vs. Clear Brook. In Region II, 2009 state runner-up The Woodlands faces Round Rock McNeil in the first game of a playoff doubleheader with their boys team on Tuesday night in Brenham. At the 4A level, Brenham will face Palestine; Lumberton will take on Hewit Midway; 2009 state runner-up Friendswood will travel to Angleton; and Texas City will take on Rosenberg Foster.