Charging to the second round

Fulshear junior midfielder Ellie Mikeska runs with the ball past two Milby defenders in Friday's 5A bi-district match.

Moving from 4A to 5A this season, the Fulshear girls’ soccer team showed that it is ready for another deep playoff run like it did in 2019.

It took just five minutes for the Chargers to take care of business, as Fulshear scored four goals in that amount of time in a 9-0 win over Houston Milby in a 5A bi-district match at Charger Field on Friday evening.

The easy win sets up a much tougher matchup for Fulshear in the second round. Port Neches-Groves, who is 21-2-1 on the season, will face the Chargers in the area round after getting a 2-1 first-round win over Texas City.

But Fulshear’s performance on Friday shows that it believes it can make a strong playoff run as it moves from 4A in 2019 to 5A.

“We knew Milby wasn’t going to be the strongest opponent, but we wanted to work on us and our ball movement,” Fulshear head coach Mark Kluppel said. “The goals wasn’t just being good athletes, but being good soccer players as well. And I like that, I like to see some growth in our game.”

It took only 33 seconds in the match for Fulshear to get the game-winning goal. After getting a quick possession after the opening kick, a long pass was taken in by sophomore forward Reagan Crawford, who put it into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Thirty seconds later, Fulshear again took advantage of a Milby turnover, and a charge by Crawford led to a goal by junior midfielder Ellie Mikeska when Crawford found Mikeska in the attack box for a quick pass, and Mikeska scored on the empty goal.

The Chargers’ third goal was 50 seconds later, as Mikeska made a move to get the Lady Buff goalkeeper out of position and scored her second goal about two minutes into the match.

“I think our intensity is up a lot,” Mikeska said. “We made sure that our teammates have the right mindset, because sometimes we’re not feeling it. But this type of game, we have to make sure that they know how important it is and play as good as they can.”

In the third minute, Fulshear again controlled possession and looking to add a fourth goal. Senior midfielder Cynthia Rodriguez fired a shot toward Milby goalkeeper Jennifer Salazar, who saw the ball go off her hands into the net for another goal and a 4-0 lead.

The fifth goal came in the seventh minute of the match, as Mikeska got the hat trick on a 15-yard shot on the left side. After that, Kluppel started subbing out some of his starters to allow his reserves to get some playoff experience.

Fulshear scored two more times in the first half as Crawford and senior forward Bushra Emiola got goals to put the Chargers up 7-0.

The second half was mostly about if Milby could muster enough offense to at least get on the scoreboard. But Fulshear still was able to control possession and goalkeepers Abbie Moreno and Ella Clement were able to get the clean sheet.

Meanwhile, the Chargers added two more goals in the second half, as Crawford scored in the 47th minute and Mikeska scored her fourth goal in the 60th minute.

The win moves Fulshear’s record to 15-2, while Milby’s season ended with a 12-5 record.

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