Aldine overcomes odds, makes Regional Tournament

 

HOUSTON – Odds makers would tell you that Aldine shouldn’t be here.

That a No. 4 seeded team shouldn’t be playing in a Regional Semifinal on Friday and that the Mustangs shouldn’t have beaten The Woodlands – a District Champion – in the first round of the playoffs.

But that’s what the odds are for, to go against them and then they surprise everyone.

Aldine has done just that.

“It is a dream come true,” Aldine coach Melbin Barahona said. “They were not expecting to get this far, especially when we almost did not make it to the playoffs. For them this is something special to be in Regional Semifinals, because no one believed in them at the beginning. Everyone though that they were going to get their behind whooped by The Woodlands.”

After a 1-0 victory against The Woodlands, Aldine has beaten Cypress Lakes and Langham Creek to reach the Region II-6A Semifinal, where it will face Sachse on Friday.

This isn’t the first time Aldine has gotten this far in the playoffs.

Last season, the Mustangs reached the Regional Semifinals for only the second time since 1990 and the first time since the 2015 season.

Aldine hasn’t been in a Regional Final since that same season and furthermore has never made it to state. But the first step is to earn the chance to play for that state tourney ticket.

“I would give everything just to be in the finals,” Barahona said. “Every year, I always dream to have a chance to get this far and making it to the finals. It is my goal, my dream and my everything to have a chance of tasting a State Final. It will be a dream come true.”

When asked if there have been key players to help make this playoff run happen, Barahona didn’t name one.

“It is the whole team that is working so hard to overcome any obstacle,” he said.

But really the whole key to this run happened on March 28 against a District Champion.

In the first 10 minutes of that match, Barahona admitted he thought The Woodlands was going to score two or three goals on them. The Highlanders came out strong, Barahona continued but as the match wore on he and his team knew they could compete with them.

Now that win has fueled the Mustangs to a second-straight Regional Semifinal with the hopes of heading to Georgetown.

“Beating the woodlands gave us a lot of hopes and taught us something, that if we play as hard as we played against The Woodlands, it could give us a chance of competing with anyone,” Barahona said. “After the game, the boys told me, ‘we have played a perfect game and if we play like that from now on, we could reach the finals’.

“So, I noticed right away, that their confidence was getting higher and their minds were setups to the ultimate goal, which was to make it to the finals.”

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