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While McAllen High has a noted offense, from its mesmerizing footwork and passing to its scoring prowess, its defense is pretty darn good, too.

McAllen High’s Maisen Dubrule, right, defends Gregory Portland’s Brooklyn Barnes, left, during a UIL Class 5A regional quarterfinal game at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium Tuesday, April 02 2024 in McAllen, Tx. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])

Freshman goalkeeper Zoie Trevino made a tremendous leaping save with 18:50 remaining in the match and Maisen Dubrule was an especially rabidly ravenous Bulldog, battling, digging and clawing her way to stop every possible threat as McHi defeated Gregory-Portland 1-0 on Tuesday in a UIL Class 5A regional quarterfinal.

The Bulldogs will play Leander at 1 p.m.Friday at Brownsville Sports Park in a regional semifinal, a.k.a, the Sweet 16.

Julianna Millin, the Valley’s leading scorer for the second time in the past three seasons, scored the game’s only goal off a beautiful lob pass from Emma Lopez that went over the defenders’ heads. Millin took the ball on a breakaway and easily found the back of the net with 26:53 remaining in the match.

That’s when the visiting Wildcats turned on the pressure and the game turned more physical. That was fine with Dubrule who, during one play fighting for the ball, fell or was knocked down twice. But in the end, she came out with the ball like a magician’s rabbit in the hat trick.

McAllen High’s Charlotte Garza, right, defends Gregory Portland’s Makenzie Ivie, left, during a UIL Class 5A regional quarterfinal game at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium Tuesday, April 02 2024 in McAllen, Tx. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])

“It was a little rough near the end, but we everybody fought through it really well,” Dubrule said. “We are talking all the time whether through texts or on the field (with the keepers). Leadership is a big thing, especially in the back. Both her and Ali (Tawil, McHi’s other starting goalkeeper) have done amazing, stepping up and being the voice of the defense they help us stay calm to bring the ball up the field.”

As the season has progressed, the offense has been playing more seamlessly, the ball in control at the players’ feet. On Tuesday, however, it seemed just a bit off. There were several offside calls on Gabby Gonzalez, some by maybe a foot, some by much less, but she clearly showed who was the fastest player on the pitch.

“I think we needed that (type of game),” McHi head coach Patrick Arney said. “I think we had been doubting ourselves a little during district and I knew we were in for a battle.

“We had some mistakes, especially at the end. you can’t give away cheap fouls or the ball – how many times did someone work their butt off to win the ball then just kick it to the other team. We had opportunities though.”

Millin got that opportunity and did all the scoring the Bulldogs needed.

“For as well as we have been connecting, I felt it was a silly goal to score,” Millin said. “I expected Emma’s pass to go over their heads and it did, and I just finished it. Everyone else did all the work.”

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