HOUSTON – It was another magical season for Episcopal boys soccer.
A perfect 16-0 finish and the program’s fourth-straight Southwest Preparatory Conference State Championship in the bag, the Knights added to the accolades being ranked the No.1 boys soccer team in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com in its FAB 50 on February 19.
“Certainly we never focused on being No. 1 in the country from the perspective of team goals and expectations,” Episcopal soccer coach Travis Smith said. “We benefitted from a schedule that gave us a chance to play the right teams at the right time and we took advantage of our opportunity. It also helped that we were nationally ranked the year before so we were on the radar of TopDrawerSoccer.”
Heading into the 2018-2019 season, Episcopal wasn’t ranked in the FAB 50.
It wasn’t until the Knights had started 5-0 that on January 8 it broke into the rankings at No. 18 with a showdown with No. 1-ranked Central Catholic looming.
The Knights won 1-0.
That paired with a 7-0 start catapulted Episcopal to the No. 3 ranking in the very next poll, which is where it stayed until it eventually climbed to No. 2 and then finally the top spot with the perfect finish to the regular season.
“This year we had incredible balance with no holes in the lineup and quality depth off the bench,” Smith said. “This was the most complete team we’ve had during our run of success over the last four years. It certainly shows in the numbers. During our 16 games, we outscored opponents 73-3.”
Two players that really fueled the Knights to this successful year were seniors Juan Rodriguez and Victor Velasco, who combined to score 50 goals this season.
Other key players included Memo Rodriguez, Ivan Bastidas and goalkeeper Jose Reyes, who only allowed three goals all season.
“2018-2019 was a magical season and the Class of 2019 was a major driving force behind the success of the last four years,” Smith said. “We know that a new chapter awaits next year and hopefully the underclassmen will be motivated to continue to reach the standard that was set the last four years.”
TopDrawerSoccer.com is set to release a new FAB 50 ranking each week until April 16 when the state championships for most states will be complete. Episcopal has held the No. 1 spot in the rankings for the past four weeks.