FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- As other teams started to hit the wall after playing three high-quality matches in 48 hours, Central Catholic (San Antonio, Texas) seemed to get stronger.
The private school favorite in Texas this year rallied from 1-0 down for a 3-1 victory over Downey (Calif.) to win its bracket Saturday morning, then capped the weekend with a stunning 3-0 late afternoon victory over Cathedral (Calif.) in the overall North Texas Elite Showcase title match.
Central Catholic entered the week ranked No. 20 in the FAB 50, but this team now will be in the FAB 50 No. 1 conversation after knocking off No. 23 Sam Houston (Texas), No. 1 Loyola (Calif.), Downey and No. 10 Cathedral in a 52-hour span.
While Jose Gallegos is a high-end talent who attracts a lot of attention, Central Catholic is far from a one-man show. Angel Bacho, Luis Jaen and Franco Querido all stepped up with goals during Saturday's two matches.
At the National Elite Prep Showcase, a nearby girls event, FAB 50 No. 3 Southlake Carroll (Texas), No. 36 Byron Nelson (Texas), No. 40 Carondelet (Calif.), No. 46 Ursuline Academy (Texas), regionally ranked Nolan Catholic (Texas), regionally ranked Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), Plano West (Texas) and [Liberty ca-w] (Calif.) finished the weekend undefeated. Teams played either three or four matches during the three-day event. No team went 4-0, Nolan Catholic went 3-0, Southlake Carroll and Plano West went 3-0-1 and Harvard-Westlake was 2-0-2.
The most dramatic match of Saturday went to the NTXES Black Division championship match between St. Paul's (La.) and Cathedral (Calif.). Cal State Fullerton commit Dylan Robinson used his 6-foot-4 frame to head in the opening goal with Cathedral playing a man down. St. Paul's standout midfielder Conner Walmsley answered with a free kick from distance to even the schore at 1. During the first overtime session, Cathedral received a second red card and was forced to play two men short. The team hunkered down on defense, playing to get to penalties with leaving Robinson as the lone attacking player on the field. Late in the second overtime session, Cathedral keeper Adrian Munoz launched a long punt than bounced over a defender and right into Robinson's path. Robinson took a touch, used his body to fend off the center back and gain control of the ball, then scored to win the contest.
"We knew we had to fight hard to with only nine players, but we've been finding ways to win all year," Robinson said. "We were playing for penalties, but also knew (a long-ball counter) would be the only way we could score. The back, who had played a great game, made a bad play on the ball and the rest was up to me."
D/M Angel Bacho, Central Catholic (Texas), Sr.: Bacho already was receiving colelge attention and his play over the weekend likely increased the interest. He had a goal and three assists on Saturday. He scored a pair of set-piece goals during the tournament.
F Dylan Robinson, Cathedral (Calif.), Sr.: The Cal State Fullerton commit turned in a dazzling performance Saturday morning, scoring the game's first goal then ending it with a sudden death breakaway to give Cathedral the division title.
GK Ethan Shrewsberry, Lake Travis (Texas), Sr.: The senior keeper came up with two saves in the shootout as Lake Travis won a consolation match over Naaman Forest.
F Kylie Fournier, Rouse (Texas), Jr.: Fournier scored Rouse's two Saturday goals, giving her five over the last two days of the event.
F Naomi Jeter, Grapevine (Texas), Fr.: Several years ago, Grapevine had a freshman named Sophia Smith emerged as a major high school player while making her debut at NEPS. Now, Jeter appears to be folloing that lead. The freshman scored three goals in the team's 5-0 win over Clements.
M Mary Claire Stoelzing, Boerne Champion (Texas), Sr.: Boerne Champion entered NEPS as the top-ranked team in San Antonio and lost three games to start the season before pulling together for a 4-0 win over Trinity Christian. Stoelzing assisted in the first three goals of the match.
Jordyn Young, Carondelet (Calif.), So.: On a team with top-end senior talent, this sophomore delivered the offensive performance of the day with a goal and one assist in Carondelet's win over St. Thomas Aquinas.
North Texas Elite Showcase
National Elite Prep Showcase
FAB 50 No. 39 Grapevine (Texas) 5, [Clements tx-w] (Texas) 0. Goals: G -- Naomi Jeter (Rhodes), Jeter (Margiotta), Nikki Romero (Wright), Romero, Jeter (Margiotta).
Plano West (Texas) 1, [Liberty ca-w] (Calif.) 1. Goals: PW -- Iris Seamster; L -- n/a.
Cornerstone Christian (Texas) 2, [St. Stephen's Episcopal tx-w] (Texas) 1. Goals: CC -- Leslie Rios (Libby Welker), Clarissa Martinez (Madeline Espinoza). SSA -- Margaret Savage (Alexandra Weatherspoon).