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Varsity Boys Soccer Plays Hard at Klein Showcase, Suffers Tough Losses

By Gina Smith, 01/16/23, 10:45PM CST


Later in the week, Varsity Boys Soccer took part in the Klein Showcase, playing 3 games over 3 days at the Klein Memorial Stadium.

GAME 1 vs. Klein Cain

Game 1 had them pitted against Klein Cain in strong winds on Thursday afternoon. Let’s blame it on the change in weather, but the game was quite sloppy for both teams and was truly back and forth from start to finish. Neither team had any noticeable possession advantage and there were few shots on goal. Notably, Juan Ugalde had two very nice saves to keep it even.

I think we’d all like to forget about this one. Tied at 0-0.

GAME 2 vs. Klein Forest

Game 2 was played Friday morning against Klein Forest and the Spartans came to play this time. The Stratford boys started strong, dominating possession and moving the ball well. Forest applied a bit of pressure early in the game, but their first shot on goal in the fifth minute was easily handled by our stalwart keeper, Juan Ugalde. Stratford fought back and Hanno Waguespack got a shot off in the 11th minute, but it sailed high. Forest responded and were able to break through our defense and get one past our keeper in the 12th minute, putting us down 1-0. In the 14th minute, a cross from Bennett Swires to Yuto Komiya was sent just wide of the net. Stratford kept battling and creating opportunities with shots by strikers Fabu NdayishimiyeJacob Smithand Yuto Komiya, but were unable to finish, and the first half ended with us down 1-0.

The second half started with an energized Forest, who got a shot off 2 minutes in. Juan Ugalde made a beautiful save. Forest played a strong press, and the Stratford boys had a hard time responding. With 15 minutes left in the game, we only managed 2 more shots on goal by Jacob Smith, and Stratford had gone down 3-0. That’s when our boys came to life and battled back. In the 72nd minute, Hanno Waguespack scored off a well-placed cross from Bennett Swires, followed in quick succession by shots by Fabu Ndayishimiye in the 74th minute and Gishi Byshimo in the 77th. A foul in the box gave Stratford a penalty kick scored easily by Yuto Komiya with 33 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, time was not on our side and while they made it exciting, the game ended in a 3-2 loss.

GAME 3 vs. Northshore

Stratford’s final game of the showcase was played Saturday afternoon against a scrappy Northshore team. There was a lot of back-and-forth to start the game with Stratford creating opportunities, but unable to finish.

Just before halftime, Stratford earned a corner taken by Jacob Smith. The corner was initially deflected by a defender back into play and followed up with shots by Giancarlo Chelala and Jasper Hartman, both blocked. As the ball bounced out of the box, it was crossed back to the right where Hanno Waguespack was waiting to volley into the back of the net. Unfortunately, the goal was not awarded as after a controversial (and terrible) off-side call, and the half ended 0-0.

Only 4 minutes in to the second half, Northshore scored with a header off into the top corner of the net. That was followed by a Northshore free-kick just outside the box that was bravely blocked by the tandem of Thomas Dimareli and Hanno Waguespack.

In the 68th minute, Northshore scored again, putting Stratford down 2-0. We responded two minutes later after a well-placed free kick by Zayn Tippitt from the midfield was headed into the goal by Jacob Smith. Stratford down 2-1.

Once again, we were fighting from behind in the final minutes of the game, and with one minute left, a laser shot by Hanno Waguespack from outside the box, hit the crossbar and went out of bounds. The clock ticked away and the result was another heartbreaking loss for the Spartans.

All in all the boys rebounded from some tough play and tough breaks to end the tournament with a hard-fought, close game. The results were not what we wanted, but Varsity showed they are ready for district play.

First District game is January 24th at CyFair. First District HOME game is Friday, January 27th. Go Spartans!