Soccer: On a mission – Bridgeport downs Stephenville, advances to regional tournament

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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Flurry of Goals

FLURRY OF GOALS – Bridgeport’s Eric Aguilar and Juan Amador celebrate after the Bulls scored a goal. Bridgeport scored three second-half goals in a 4-1 victory. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

In the 33rd minute of Friday’s 4A Region I regional quarterfinal, Jesus Aguilar held off his defender and dribbled into the box. Maneuvering into a bitter 25 mph wind, Aguilar rocketed a shot into the roof of the goal that froze Stephenville’s keeper.

As the ball whizzed into the net, Aguilar bolted down the sideline and embraced his teammates, pumping up the Bridgeport faithful. It was only the start of the offensive onslaught for the Bulls.

Aguilar found the back of the net again in the 60th minute, going around a Yellowjacket defender and juking the keeper before burying a shot into the wide-open net. Bridgeport added two goals from Miguel Olmos and Milton Iniguez in the second half to seal the deal in a 4-1 victory over Stephenville at Aledo.

“[Aguilar] is playing on another level right now,” said Bridgeport coach C.J. Cartwright. “He had a big-time goal in that first half. The kid works his butt off, and he’s humble. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Offensive Firepower

OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER – Bridgeport’s Jesus Aguilar dribbles around a Stephenville defender. Aguilar had two goals in the Bulls’ 4-1 win. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Bulls advanced to the regional semifinal with the win. They will take on Midlothian Heritage at 4 p.m. Friday at Birdville ISD’s Fine Arts and Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills. It is the second consecutive year Bridgeport has made it to the regional tournament.

Bridgeport also avenged one of its three regular season losses. Stephenville beat the Bulls 2-1 Jan. 19.

“This was a big one for us just because we have a loss to those guys,” Cartwright said. “It was time to not just prove to them, but prove to ourselves who we are. I’m glad the results showed that tonight. We’ve been putting in the work, and whenever it pays off like this, it’s a plus.”

Up 1-0 at halftime, Cartwright said he adjusted to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation at the intermission to capitalize going away from the wind.

The Bulls quickly took advantage and dominated possession in the midfield. Bridgeport had several opportunities on goal in the opening minutes of the second half and finally broke through when Olmos scored in the 49th minute. He unleashed a shot from 15 yards into the bottom corner of the net.

“[Changing formations] helped a lot,” Aguilar said. “The 4-3-3 is probably our best formation. We worked well with it.”

Bridgeport added its final goal in the 77th minute when Iniguez finished a well-worked chance inside the box. Stephenville’s keeper managed to get a hand to it but was unable to keep the shot out.

The Bulls improved to 20-3-1 overall this season. Bridgeport has won its three playoff matches by a combined score of 15-2.

“We were very hungry,” Aguilar said. “We practiced our butts off every single day. We wanted this win.

“Our main goal [is] to go to state again after the heartbreaking loss [last year]. I think we can go back and we’re proving it.”

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