Finally back in the playoffs

Huntsville sophomore forward Hugo Moncada has led the Hornets to the playoffs. The Hornets will face Nederland in an area-round playoff game at Kingwood Park High School at 7 p.m.

After a six-year absence, the Huntsville boys soccer team is back in the playoffs.

The Hornets finished the season strong and look to continue when they play Nederland in their area-round playoff game today at Kingwood Park High School at 7 p.m.

“This year, I think, personally, this is one of the strongest teams Huntsville has seen in a long time and we want to show it,” midfielder Julio Blas said Monday.

“So far, we’ve done our jobs to show that we’re ready for the playoffs. We’re working hard. If we play our game, it’ll show up tomorrow night and hopefully we’ll come out with a win and keep going.”

In the past couple of seasons, the Hornets came up just short of the playoffs. Last season, Huntsville accumulated plenty of wins in district, but many of those came in shootouts.

This season, the Hornets have found the right touch and have been able to finish games in regulation.

“I think playing as a team and not as much as individuals have made a difference this year,” Blas said.

The Hornets roll into the playoffs with plenty of momentum. Huntsville won its final three games of the season, including a 2-1 win over Willis in the regular-season finale, to grab the district’s fourth and final playoff spot.

“I feel good about them,” Huntsville head coach Robert Taylor said. “I know they’re confident. They’ve won three games in a row. But even if you look back at our season, there was just one game where I felt we got beat. We’ve lost a lot of games by just one goal, including two to Brenham.

“They’re not a group of guys that are easily intimidated. I think they’ll be ready. It should be a fun day for them, regardless of what happens.”

Despite the fact that playoff soccer will be new to the Hornets, Blas doesn’t think that nerves will be a problem.

“Even though we finally made the playoffs, I don’t think we’re going to give up that easily,” Blas added.

“Now that we’ve got a little taste of what it’s like to be in the playoffs, we don’t want it to end here. We just want to keep going and keep playing until we can’t play anymore.”