Harlingen High rallies in the second half, advances to regional tourney

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BEEVILLE A second-half comeback for Harlingen High resulted in a 2-1 win over San Antonio Warren on Tuesday night, giving the Cardinals the opportunity to play in the Region IV-6A tournament starting Friday with a shot at the state tournament on the line.

Warren had held a 1-0 lead for nearly an hour when Cardinals sophomore Camila Hernandez unleashed a rocket to the top right corner to level the match, and then senior Naeori Resendez followed it up a couple minutes later to make it 2-1.

Harlingen High after beating San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Harlingen High head coach Jose Galvan praised his team’s resiliency after going down early due to a controversial call. The Cardinals are going to need to be just as mentally tough when they head to San Antonio later this week, but they will have the support from the Valley when they go.

“Puro 956,” Galvan said with a smile after the match.

Harlingen High head coach Jose Galvan embraces his assistant coaches after beating San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

When Hernandez set up her free kick, the sophomore always looked like she was going to take a strike, regardless of the ball sitting nearly 40 yards from goal. 

The sophomore midfielder placed her shot perfectly in the top right corner of the goal, top bins, with only 15 minutes played in the second half and plenty of time for the Cardinals to find their go-ahead goal.

“They kept telling me to take a shot, and I practice those every day, so I took a shot and saw it go in,” Hernandez said.

Harlingen High’s Camila Hernandez striking her free kick that tied the match against San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Hernandez was also proud of her ability to mark one of Warren’s best players all game and was glad her goal lifted the team as they searched for a winner.

Resendez scored only a couple of minutes later when a long ball in the box was not dealt with properly by a Warren defender. Resendez pounced, finishing with her left foot to give the Cardinals the 2-1 lead.

Harlingen High’s Naeori Resendez hugs her teammates after giving the Cardinals a 2-1 lead against San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Resendez, the second leading scorer for the Cardinals on the season with 11 goals, has been dealing with a knee injury and was not able to go the whole match, but when on the field Resendez always looked to get on the ball, being creative and threatening Warren’s goal.

“I have been hurt, so it is frustrating not being able to help my team when I am out,” Resendez said. “I am literally pacing back-and-forth on the sideline.”

Resendez said she just kicked the ball as hard as she could after she took the ball off her chest and brought the ball back to her feet before a defender could get a proper challenge in.

“I am glad it went in,” she added.

Harlingen High’s Juliana Garcia finds space for a shot against San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

The scoring started after an innocuous long ball, which Cardinals goalkeeper Gilliece Gomez handled in her own box seconds into the match. The ref blew his whistle, signaling for an indirect free kick, after ruling a deflection by the Cardinals’ defender was a pass despite pleas that it was not. By doing so, Gomez was not allowed to handle the ball.

Warren scored from the subsequent free kick to go up 1-0.

“It is part of the game,” Galvan said. “You want to always blame the ref, but at the end of the day they are there for a reason. I told the girls, hey forget about that, keep playing and do what we have to do here. They did, they executed the game plan and I am so proud of them.”

The San Antonio side hardly threatened after going up. Gomez had to make one save in the second half that was hit straight at her after Warren found space on a counter down its left flank.

Other than that, it was a dominant performance by the Cardinals’ defense, midfield and even attackers that did not score that constantly pressed the Warren backline.

Harlingen High’s Ava Munoz looks to create space on the wing against San Antonio Warren Tuesday night in Beeville in a Class 6A Region IV quarterfinal match. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

The Region IV-6A tournament is scheduled to be held at Comalander Stadium in San Antonio.

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