Episcopal, St. John’s unmatched on SPC pitch
The Houston area once again excelled on the soccer field, earning three of the four final spots at the Southwest Preparatory Conference tournament.
The Episcopal boys and St. John’s girls completed perfect runs through league and tournament play Feb. 16 at Trinity Valley School. The Knights rallied past The John Cooper School for their fourth consecutive SPC championship, while the Mavericks shut out Dallas Hockaday School for their first.
The Knights finished undefeated at 16-0-0 and could have a national championship to claim by the end of spring. Since upending eventual TAPPS Division I state champion San Antonio Central Catholic, they have held the Top Drawer Soccer FAB 50 top spot. Southlake Carroll was ranked No. 2 in the March 4 poll.
The conference title was equally significant for the Mavericks, who had never appeared in an SPC final before last year. This year they earned history, as Carter Hollingsworth scored the only goal in a 1-0 triumph against Hockaday.
St. John’s opened the tournament with an 8-0 rout of Houston Christian and edged Episcopal School of Dallas on penalty kicks, with Katina Christensen scoring in regulation and Stephanie Sarker making the decisive kick in the shootout.
“We had some momentum in (the semifinal) win and these girls were on a mission,” Mavericks coach Susan Quill told St. John’s School Communications. “On Thursday I took the team into the gym and we discussed the fat that the only missing championship banner is for girls soccer. They were determined to represent their school and put soccer on the map at St. John’s.”
Including six zone matches, the Mavericks outscored SPC foes 37-4, never allowing more than one goal in a match. They finished 20-3-3 overall, including 3-2-1 against TAPPS Division I opponents.
Directed by Quill and assistant coaches Kate Edwards and Meghan McAlpine, the Mavericks will graduate their first championship class. Seniors Sarker, Isabella Alban, Maggie Allegar, Madeline Cuozzo, Shelby DesRoches, Lilah Gaber, Sara Lichtarge and Camila Sabisky placed their graduation year on a championship banner.
Juniors Kate Ainbinder, Catie Beck, Sofia Castore, Julia Jones, Erin Oldham, Kennedy Sholeen, Mira Thakur and Laurel Williamson, sophomores Christensen, Hollingsworth, Charlotte Gillard and Olivia O’Reilly, and freshmen Savi Augustine, Jessie Beck, Camille Carleton
Megan Chang, Sloan Davidson, Eve Kroencke, Mia Masterson, Ana Sofia Miro, Claire Pedrick and Olivia Pieper will be back for another SPC run.
Episcopal continued its conference dynasty, winning its fifth title overall. The Knights produced a dominant scoring margin of 73-3, with only one goal allowed in the flow of play.
They outscored SPC foes 40-2, including 3-0 victories against Dallas Greenhill School and Oklahoma City Casady to reach the final. John Cooper played the Knights scoreless through the first overtime period and took the lead in the second overtime, but Episcopal quickly rallied with two goals to finish a perfect season.
Coached by Travis Smith and assistant Zach Schwarz, the Knights graduate a four-time champion senior class of Jose Reyes, Carter Kardesch, Victor Velasco, Guillermo Rodriguez, Humberto Leal, Ivan Bastidas, Juan Rodriguez, Daniel Cai and Tyler Donovan. Velasco and Rodriguez combined for more than 50 goals.
Juniors Ricardo Salazar, Daniel Guandique and Wilson Grant, sophomores Mateo Bastidas, Cooper Corenblith, Hamilton Estrada, Oliver Alvarez, Daniel Rios, Stephano Cotsoradis and Christopher Rives, and freshmen Calvin Kelly and Nicholas Oldham look to continue Episcopal’s remarkable SPC streak.
Episcopal: Claire Jesulaitis, Julia Nasser, Millie Hovnatanian, Juan Rodriguez, Victor Velasco, Ivan Bastidas, Memo Rodriguez, Danny Rios
Houston Christian: Kate Welsh, Jackie Catalano, Jakob Mosvold
Kinkaid: Lena Provenzano, Zack Nicolaou, Becket Toussaint, Eren Senyuva
St. John’s: Stephanie Sarker, Lilah Gaber, Sara Lichtarge, Charlotte Gillard, Olivia O’Reilly, Ryan Doughty, Sam Faraguna