Felix F. Chavez

| El Paso Times

Montwoods Daniela Portillo talks about soccer

The Montwood girls’ soccer team continues to improve under third year coach Mark Lopez

Felix F. Chavez, El Paso Times

When Mark Lopez took over the Montwood Girls Program three years ago, he was hoping to make the Rams a title contender in District 1-6A.

That time has come as the Rams are one of the top teams in the district this year, setting a 7-2 record for Tuesday’s game against America.

“The kids did a great job and we have a strong group of kids in the program. It’s a young team with a lot of talent,” said Lopez. “Last season we made some progress and missed qualifying for the playoffs. This year the team has continued to grow.”

The newcomer’s striker Daniela Portillo was instrumental in this success. She scored 19 goals and gave the team a lot of energy.

“I was just trying to come here and be someone who can help the team and be the best possible team-mate,” said Portillo. “I’ve had a good season, but more importantly, we’re doing well as a team. It came together for us, we’re making progress all the time.”

Lopez calls Portillo a talented offensive player and her impact was immediately on the agenda.

“Daniela is really talented. She is a proven goalscorer and a proven playmaker,” said Lopez. “She has a lot of talent and is only getting better. Daniela plays with a lot of self-confidence.”

While Portillo leads the offensive, sophomore Amani Alvarez has got the defense going and is another piece in Montwood’s bright future.

“Amani is a defense leader and she pushes us to keep getting better,” said Portillo. “Amani tries hard all the time and she has helped me get better.”

While Montwood is happy with a 7-2 district record and a likely playoff spot this year, the team is hoping for bigger and better strides such as district titles and playoff successes.

“The program has come a long way in the past few years with coach Lopez,” said Alvarez. “There’s a good lead in the program and we’re playing as a team. Daniela was great for us and gave us a boost with her scoring chances. She’s a great player. Everyone else is on the rise and doing a great job.”

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Felix F. Chavez can be reached at 915-546-6167; fchavez@elpasotimes.com; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter.