On to College Station

Cinco Ranch's Russell takes next step in illustrious career

Russell established a plan to graduate high school early and get to College Station Via Vype

Originally Appeared on Vype

Cinco Ranch High girls soccer coach Fredy Sanguinetti knew he wouldn't get star player Ali Russell's services for a full four years.

And though Russell told Sanguinetti during her freshman year three years ago that she would not play her senior season in 2019, instead electing to graduate early and enroll at Texas A&M to get a head start academically and athletically, Sanguinetti didn't think it would come to that.

He thought she'd be gone even before then.

"From day one, I always thought the USA team was going to take her," Sanguinetti said. "I knew she was at Cinco on borrowed time, whether it was to graduate early or the U.S. team was going to pick her up."

In three years at Cinco Ranch, Russell, who also played for the U.S. national team from 2015-2017, was a three-time all-state selection at forward. She set district and school records for goals (120) and assists (51). She led the Cougars to the state tournament twice, each time being named to the all-tournament team.

And yet through it all, Russell hardly wavered in her decision to bypass her senior season.

"The only moment I ever second-guessed myself was when we lost state last year," said Russell, referring to a loss in penalty kicks to Flower Mound Marcus in the state semifinals. "I was like, OK, so if I stay, do you think we could win state? It was a big thing. I wanted to win state so bad, and we were so close so many times. Even my dad, for the first time ever, asked me, 'OK, so are you sure?' And I just had to be strong. I know, in the long run, this would be better for me."

It is the norm, if not the standard, at Texas A&M for women's soccer players to graduate high school early and enroll in the spring to get a head start.

"I'm not nervous for the school part, at alI," Russell said. "I also don't want to go into college having the mindset that I'm going to play. I want to be able to work for my spot. I'm nervous for that soccer aspect of wanting new people to like me, and for the first practice. I don't want to play like trash, because that's the first thing they remember. Once I get through that, I'll be fine."


Read more on Ali here

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Houston gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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