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Marble Falls boys’ soccer opens district against Cedar Park

2022 Marble Falls Mustangs soccer

The Marble Falls boys’ soccer team begins District 25-5A play against Cedar Park at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls. Courtesy photo

The Marble Falls High School boys’ soccer team opens District 25-5A play Jan. 25 hoping to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. The Mustangs were so close last season, finishing fifth after losing seven games by one goal and tying in four.

“That’s 11 winnable games,” head coach Rick Hoover said. 

Marble Falls welcomes Cedar Park at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. 

District 25-5A is deep with talent, including Leander, Leander Glenn, Leander Rouse, Georgetown, Georgetown East View, and Liberty Hill. In 2021, both Cedar Park and Leander advanced to the regional round of the 5A playoffs. 

Marble Falls (3-4-2) began 2022 on a four-game losing streak then reeled off three consecutive wins and played the last two pre-district matches to ties. 

Hoover noted a big difference between this year’s team and last year’s. After a 1-1 tie with Del Valle on Jan. 18, the coach addressed his squad.

“Guys, this is a game that last year we lose,” he said. “We focused, it went back and forth, and in the last minute and minute and a half, we almost scored four times. We had them on their heels. I felt like we outplayed them.”

This year’s 26-player roster includes 15 seniors. Most of the veteran seniors have played on the varsity squad since their freshmen year, 2019, when Marble Falls advanced to the regional quarterfinals. The year before, the Mustangs made it the Class 5A Region IV tournament

But in the past two years, Marble Falls has finished fifth in district and missed out on the postseason.

Hoover said this is the most seniors he’s ever had in the nine years he’s been the Marble Falls head coach. 

Seniors are defenders Rafa Barajas, Jack Dykes, Isaias Fernandez, Tan Mai, Tim Vidal, and Jose Villa; forwards Roberto Adame, Blake Bougher, Adrian Martinez, Josh Ortiz, Carter Rhodes, and Cristobal Tahaul; midfielders Carlos Barrientos and Jorge Jaimes; and keeper Hunter Johnson.

“Everybody but one grew up here,” he said. “Cristobal moved here as a freshman. The kids, not only do they know each other, they know me. When they were in the second grade, they were coming to my camps. They watched us years ago, and they’ve wanted to be Mustangs ever since. ” 

Juniors are defender Chris Hellen; forward Caleb Vidal; midfielders Fernando Arreguin, Cade Knight, and Max Najera; and keeper Justin Pineda. Sophomores are defenders Charlie Brantley and Seth Parker; forwards Kash Bussaraporn and Diego Mata; and midfielder Garrett Goggans. 

Hoover believes mental sharpness will play a huge role in which teams advance to the playoffs. That’s one of the reasons why this year’s team motto is “Outwork everybody.”

“(District 26-6A member) Del Valle had athletes, they were better,” Hoover said of the Jan. 18 game. “But we outcoached them, and our kids were focused to the end and outworked them. If we’re going to have success, that’ll be the secret.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com