The clock had ticked two minutes into overtime when boys’ soccer captain Andre Gras took a shot at the Houston Christian High School (HCHS) goalie. For a moment, Gras seemed to have grasped the victory. Then, the goalie dove and deflected the ball.
In order to earn a spot in Division I in the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC), the team needed a goal; a tie would send the higher ranked HCHS Mustangs to a chance at the championship title and leave the Mavericks in Division II.
One goal was all it would take to put the team in Division I. One missed save by junior goalie Andrew Warden was all it would take to lose the game and a Division I seeding.
Freshman Joe Faraguna shot Gras’s deflected ball back at the goalie. This time, it went in. Students rushed on the field as Faraguna’s goal placed the team in Division I alongside all other winter sports.
“The support after our win from the fans was great,” sophomore Akshay Jaggi said.
A place in the Division I bracket had previously proved elusive, but the boys’ soccer team is prepared to rise and become a major competitor for a championship trophy.
The Mustangs proved to be worthy opponents for the Mavericks, as the game was tied with no goals until Faraguana’s goal, pressure rising with every passing minute.
“We stayed strong and held off various dangerous attacks from the opposition,” sophomore Santi Henning said.
“No one expects SJS to be good at sports, and our rivals assume that because we don’t recruit for soccer, we don’t bring talent to the field,” Gras said. “Well, we have talent and we have more than that. We have heart and passion.”
Maverick pride and fervor paid off during last year’s winter SPC, when the team pulled a major upset to beat the first seed, Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD), in their first match. Though they placed fourth, the soccer team still came out of the season with big wins.
This year, the team will face the number one seeded ESD again in the first round of the tournament at 10 a.m. Feb. 15.
“We want to repeat last year’s upset and beat ESD again,” sophomore Ben Bieser said.
“Our team may not be on anyone’s radar right now, but this weekend, we’re going to knock some soccer socks off,” Gras said.
Jaggi said, “We’re hoping to make it to the championship. And once we’re there, anything less than 1st place will be disappointing.”
Which team do you think will take home an SPC Championship?
- Boys' Basketball (46%, 48 Votes)
- Wrestling (16%, 17 Votes)
- Boys' Soccer (15%, 16 Votes)
- Girls' Basketball (10%, 10 Votes)
- Girls' Soccer (6%, 6 Votes)
- Girls' Swimming/Diving (4%, 4 Votes)
- Boys' Swimming/Diving (3%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 104