Athens soccer seniors

Athens High School recognized seven seniors between the Hornets and Lady Hornets soccer games Saturday at Bruce Field. Pictured from left is Hornets coach Brendan Rich, Diego Castillo, Robert Morales, Jesus Hernandez, Johnny Rodriguez, Neftali De Lay Fuente, Kindl Graves, Alondra Castillo and Lady Hornets coach Mark Hall.

The Athens Hornets and Lady Hornets gave seven combined seniors a final farewell present with two shutouts against the Dallas A+ Academy Knight Saturday.

This was the regular season finale from Bruce Field.

In the Hornets contest, Athens won 4-0 while the Lady Hornets pulled out a 6-0 victory on Senior Day.


Athens 4, Dallas A+ 0

Athens goalie Yahir Carrillo bounced back from a 1-0 loss Wednesday against A+ Academy with a clean sheet against the Knights Saturday.

“It was an important game heading into the playoffs,” Athens coach Brendan Rich said. “We faced this team Wednesday and we didn’t get the result we were looking for. Coming back and having a second chance and proving what we were made of on our home field for the seniors and the program was a well fought deserving win.”

Athens is 14-4-2 overall and finished at 11-3 in District 12-4A play. They are currently second in the district standings.

“I am beyond proud of these young boys,” Rich said. “This season was challenging for me as well as the boys and students in the classroom and as a student athlete. A lot was asked of them and they handled it tremendously and they deserve what they have gotten.”

They lost 1-0 to Dallas A+ Academy Wednesday in Dallas.

“It was just the mentality,” Rich said of the adjustments between Wednesday and Saturday. “Strategy wise, we didn’t change much as well as personnel wise. It was in between the ears and making sure the kids knew they were capable of coming back from anything.”

Athens awaits to find out its playoff opponent, with the first round scheduled for the weekend of March 25-27.

“We need get our health back underneath us,” Rich said of the break. “We have some pretty good bumps and bruises and need to get our bodies right. We need to match our mentality and we will be all right.”

This was the final game for seniors Jesus Hernandez, Robert Morales, Johnny Rodriguez, Diego Castillo and Neftali De Lay Fuente.

Rich said with all the trials the seniors had to face, it was big to give them this season to remember.

“The seniors and everybody handled everything remarkably,” Rich said. “No one could have seen everything regarding COVID-19 as well as the snowstorm. This season has been the most challenging of any season I have ever seen in high school sports.”

Athens scored two goals in the first half on blast from Kevin Sanchez with 36:37 remaining and Ty Arroyo from Juan Ibarra with 13:11 remaining for the 2-0 lead.

The Hornets had a chance to make it 4-0 in the first half on a missed header by Arroyo and a shot off the post by Zsaid Inestroza.

“Those were a little rusty shots because last time we played it was a grass field,” Rich said. “Getting back on the home turf took us a couple of minutes to get back in the groove. We were down three starters and this game was a solid win. We will take it any way we can get it and our seniors played tremendous.”

In the second half, Athens had a goal by Sanchez with 39:41 remaining and a goal by De La Fuente with 35:38 left off an assist from Rodriguez for the 4-0 finale.


Athens 6, Dallas A+ 0

The Lady Hornets had a clean sheet from goalie Josie Godwin in their final home game at Bruce Field.

In the first half, Athens scored five goals against the Knights with the first one going in on a rebound. Isabel Lopez knocked in the first goal with 36:58 remaining for the 1-0 lead.

Lopez scored her second goal just 6:57 later with a breakaway goal for the 2-0 lead.

Graves then got on the board with a goal at the 23:50 mark of the first half for the 3-0 lead.

The Lady Hornets added another goal with 6:50 left, but Graves scored her second on a free kick with 3:01 remaining in the first half for the 5-0 lead.

The only goal of the second half came with 24 minutes left as Zoe Anderson scored on a breakaway for the 6-0 finale.

Athens is 7-8-6 overall and finished at 6-3-5 in District 12-4A play. They are currently fourth in the district standings.

The Lady Hornets tied Dallas A+ Academy 0-0 Wednesday in Dallas.

This was the final home game for Lady Hornet seniors Graves and Alondra Carrillo.

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