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Clockwise from top left, The Woodlands’ Reinaldo Perera, Conroe’s Joesph Caneles, Grand Oaks’ Ramiere Johnson and College Park’s Alessio De Pippo.
The Woodlands’ Reinaldo Perera (5) goes up for a header against Bridgeland’s Eliseo Hernandez (21) in the first period of a Region II-6A quarterfinal high school playoff soccer match at Woodforest Bank Stadium, Friday, April 1, 2022, in Shenandoah.
The Woodlands High School Highlanders Reinaldo Perera (5) avoids a tackle by MacArthur Generals Walter Aquiular (6) in the 2022 UIL Region II-6A regional soccer championship at the Kelly Reeves Athletics Complex on April 9, 2022 in Austin.
Conroe’s Joseph Canales (13) dribbles the ball in the first period of a high school soccer match at Grand Oaks High School, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Spring.
Grand Oaks’ Ikenna Ubaechu (6) tries to deflect the ball away from Conroe’s Joseph Canales (13) in the first period of a high school soccer match at Grand Oaks High School, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Spring.
College Park’s Alessio De Pippo (10) signals for a corner kick in the second period of a high school soccer game at Klein Memorial Stadium, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Spring.
Grand Oaks’ Ramiere Johnson (9) controls the ball in the first period of a high school soccer match at Grand Oaks High School, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Spring.
Grand Oaks’ Ramiere Johnson (9), shown here last week, scored a hat trick against Aldine in the Region II-6A bi-district playoffs on Friday.
Here is a team-by-team preview of the Class 6A boys soccer teams in Montgomery County. All of them will play in District 13-6A.
Information was requested from all the head coaches.
The Woodlands made its return to the University Interscholastic League Class 6A state tournament last April for the first time since 2010 and are looking to recapture that magic once again this season.
Under the direction of Jason Fanning, the 2022 Montgomery County Coach of the Year, the Highlanders have plenty of holes to fill off that 21-2-2 team.
Gone are the team’s top goalkeeper Noah Shepard, the team’s top scorer in Jose Miranda and the team’s top defender in Mason Vezza. Shepard was the Montgomery County Player of the Year while Vezza was the county’s Defensive MVP. Miranda netted 13 goals, had six assists and was TASCO All-State honorable mention. Graham Miller, an honorable mention All-State, also departed.
Fanning stated this year’s will be strong in individual ball skill and has a relentless work ethic.
Some key returning players are junior midfielder Henrique Caputo, senior forward Reinaldo Perera and senior midfielder Gaspar Markez.
Last year’s Highlanders allowed just six goals in district play and 22 on the season. Their playoff path included three shutout wins over Nimitz, Cypress Ranch and Bridgeland. The Woodlands then won a thrilling Region II-6A semifinal over Lake Ridge on a shootout and followed that up with a 2-1 win over MacArthur the following afternoon to advance to state. Lake Travis won the state semifinal 3-0.
Fanning stated his team is out to prove that tradition never graduates.
The Woodlands is looking for its 15th straight district title.
Conroe head coach Michael Pistor’s team has a lot of upside coming into the 2023 season.
Last year’s team made the playoffs for the second straight year (the Tigers would have made the playoffs in 2020 as well) and are looking for achievements not only on the pitch, but off the field.
“Our goal every year is to be successful both on and off the field,” Pistor stated. “We have qualified for the playoffs in each of the three years I have been here at Conroe with a series of second place finishes in district. We want to continue to build upon that on-the-field success. But just as important is what our players are doing in the classroom.”
Pistor relishes seeing his players go off to college, even if they don’t continue playing soccer.
“Our senior captain, Tyler Bokanyi, has already been accepted into Texas A&M School of Engineering. Additionally, senior defender and current-standing valedictorian, Jacob Paggioli, has already been accepted into the University of Texas’ School of Finance.
“Our coaching staff is very proud of this group of young men and the hard work they are putting in on the soccer field and in the classroom.”
Headlined by Carlos Salinas, a first-team All-Montgomery County selection who moved on to play at University of the Ozarks, the Tigers lost seven key members of last year’s 7-8-3 team to graduation.
Some key returning players include District 13-6A Newcomer of the Year Joseph Canales, a sophomore holding mid. Brothers Raymond Pioquinto and Roger Pioquinto are back as junior wingers. Sophomore Wesley Harness is back at center attacking mid and senior Sattrel Jackson is up top at forward.
“Conroe is such a large school, and there is such a love for soccer here that even talented players may spend all four years trying to make their way up to the varsity team,” Pistor said. “It is highly unusual for underclassmen to crack their way into the varsity starting 11, but in the playoffs last year we started four underclassmen who are now returning with that experience.”
The Tigers won six district games last year, but were turned away by Westfield in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
There’s some pros and cons for the College Park Cavaliers as they enter the 2023 season.
College Park second year coach Mike Jaskowiak has a solid amount of experienced players. But most of its offense graduated in the spring.
“While we are returning a lot of minutes and a lot of experience, over two-thirds of our goals were scored by players who graduated,” Jaskowiak stated. “We will have to find goals and attack from new, different, and varied places – we return Alessio De Pippo, who suffered a season ending injury in our first district game last year – his presence up top will be key to return our offensive production to last year’s level while improving on defense and in the midfield.”
AJ Vera (11 goals) and Gabreyel Marques (nine goals) are gone, as is a key defender in Sebastian Parra.
The Cavaliers were third in District 13-6A last year and had an overall record of 8-7-4. They lost 3-2 to eventual region finalist MacArthur in the bi-district round.
“Our main strengths are a lot of returning players and minutes – strong depth up and down the roster at several positions,” Jaskowiak said. “Large number of players who have varsity experience in tough games and environments getting another year playing together in our system. Young players and players new to varsity have been a very pleasant surprise in terms of increased and capable depth.”
Senior Julio De Los Reyes (midfield/center back), Chris Case (center back), De Pippo (forward), junior Jason Pirir (center back), and sophomores Ale Escobar (midfield) and Isaac Guillory (left back/wing) pack a punch for the Cavaliers.
‘Our goal right now is to continue to build our identity through consistency, execution, and discovery in the preseason, and be ready and peaking on January 17 when district play begins,” Jaskowiak said.
Not only did the Grand Oaks Grizzlies make the playoffs for the first time in program history, they also pulled an upset in the first round.
Head coach Shane Ulbricht’s squad returns this year hoping to build on that.
“Our goal is to consistently challenge at the top of the district standings and to be a playoff team who makes deep runs,” Ulbricht stated. “As a young program that’s coming off our first playoff appearance, we want to establish a winning tradition and know that year two will be harder than last year.”
The Grizzlies went 11-10-1 and defeated Aldine 4-1 in the bi-district round. Grand Oaks made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season with a memorable 2-1 home win over rival Oak Ridge.
“We returned a lot of important players who got valuable experience last year in our first playoff campaign,” Ulbricht said. “This group has used that experience to drive them in the offseason and we’ve had a preseason with a focus on improving on our success last year. The level of play is higher than it’s ever been because this group has a great attitude toward working on and off the field.
Senior forward Ramiere Johnson has made a name for himself at Grand Oaks already. He was the District 13-6A Offensive MVP with 16 goals and two assists as a junior.
Senior Emilio Bur is back in the midfield after scoring four goals and adding three assists last year.
Tristan Chapman, a sophomore, is back at defensive midfield after a strong debut as a freshman. Junior Max Magsingit (forward) and senior Rey Adams (goalkeeper) will look to contribute.
After another strong campaign in 2022, the Panthers make the jump to Class 6A this winter and join a loaded District 13-6A.
Caney Creek went 15-5-1 and was second in District 20-5A with an 11-3 record.
The Panthers have qualified for the playoffs the past four completed seasons. It’s last playoff win came in 2019.
Oak Ridge fell to rival Grand Oaks on the final day of the season last March and missed the playoffs with the defeat.
The War Eagles were 5-11-1 overall a year ago, but scored a District 13-6A-low 11 goals with a 2-8 record in league play.
Oak Ridge has been to the playoffs four times since 2015.
The Willis Wildkats are looking to dust themselves off in 2023 after going winless in 12 of their final 13 games last season.
Willis won a stretch of four games the second week of the season, but it was held in check once District 13-6A ramped up.
Willis totaled 30 goals as a team last season.
The Wildkats last reached the playoffs in 2019 when they were in Class 5A.
New Caney hired Dylan Hunley as new head coach and the Eagles move up to Class 6A this season.
New Caney was 10-8-1 in its final season in Class 5A last winter and missed the playoffs with a 7-7-1 record in District 20-5A.
New Caney last reached the playoffs in 2021 and has been to the postseason seven times in the last 10 years.
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Montgomery County Class 6A boys soccer preview – Houston Chronicle
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