Eli Guajardo and Diego Garcia were two of a handful of Lehman soccer players who showed up at school on Monday with striking new haircuts.
Thanks to a mohawk cut from a classmate, Garcia’s hairstyle mimicked that of Italian soccer standout Stephan El Shaarawy while Guajardo went with Cristiano Ronaldo’s look. The Lobos’ high-scoring duo — each player has more than 20 goals this season —then helped Lehman beat Manor 3-2 Monday night in a Class 4A bi-district playoff.
The Lobos will resume postseason play Thursday night with a second-round match against Reagan, and if they notch another playoff victory, their coaches have agreed to get haircuts that match those of their players.
So are Lehman head coach Jay Sansom and his three assistants cool enough to wear mohawks?
“Yeah, I think they are,” Guajardo said with a laugh.
The Lobos are making their second straight trip to the second round of the playoffs. Last year, Lehman won its first-ever postseason match, but the Lobos’ season ended with an overtime loss to Vandegrift in the second round.
A year later, the Lobos are 19-1-1, with the one tie being a 1-1 draw against Reagan on Jan. 11.
“None of us want this season to end; we want another 80 minutes,” Guajardo said. “Hopefully we can come back with another one.”
Guajardo, a senior wing, entered this season determined to improve on a two-year varsity career that included eight goals while Garcia, a freshman forward, wanted to best his older brother Oscar’s season-high mark of 12 goals.
This season, Guajardo has scored 24 goals and distributed 14 assists. Garcia has 21 goals and 16 assists.
“We’re blessed with two that have good control, pretty good speed and a knack for the net,” said Sansom, who praised Guajardo and Garcia for their unselfishness and willingness to accept tips from the coaching staff.
“We knew that they would be a good combination … They’re a good pair. They’re fun to watch and everything.”
Guajardo and Garcia’s relationship extends back to Guajardo’s eighth-grade year, when the two players met at an indoor soccer facility. Four years later, Guajardo said the duo’s success has surprised him — both players are within reach of Fernando Mercado’s school record of 25 goals in a single season — but Garcia did not appear to be as shocked.
“I know where he’s at on the field, he knows where I’m at on the field. We just connect. It comes naturally,” Garcia said. “The reason why we have so many goals is because we don’t worry about scoring, we rely on each other to score.”
Guajardo and Garcia differ in their physical appearances — Eli stands 5 feet, 11 inches while Diego is 5-4 — but they share some similarities.
They’ve both been playing soccer since they were 4, and they are one-sport athletes at Lehman. Both root for Barcelona and list Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as their favorite players.
Garcia even wants to eventually wear Guajardo’s jersey number. This season, Guajardo switched his jerseyto No. 10, a badge of honor within Lehman’s soccer program.
“I’m definitely looking forward to wearing it next year,” Garcia said.
UIL soccer playoffs schedule
Class 5A boys bi-district round
McNeil vs. Anderson, 6 p.m. (Dragon Stadium)
Lake Travis vs. Round Rock, 7 p.m. (Reeves Stadium)
Akins at Cedar Ridge, 8 p.m.
Del Valle vs.Pflugerville, 7 p.m. (Kuempel Stadium)
Class 5A girls bi-district round
Bowie at Cedar Ridge, 6 p.m.
Austin High at Westwood, 6 p.m.
Lake Travis vs. Hendrickson, 7 p.m. (House Park)
Westlake vs. McNeil, 8 p.m. (Dragon Stadium)
Class 4A boys area round
Lehman vs. Reagan, 7 p.m. (Nelson Field)
Cedar Park at Connally, 7 p.m.
Vandegrift at Georgetown, 7:30 p.m.
SA Edison at Dripping Springs, 6 p.m. Friday
Vista Ridge at East View, 7 p.m.
Class 4A girls area round
Vista Ridge at Georgetown, 5:30 p.m.
Dripping Springs vs. SA Brackenridge, 6:30 p.m. (Boerne HS)
Bastrop vs. Vandegrift, 6:30 p.m. (Cedar Creek HS)
Cedar Park at Lehman, 7 p.m.
Rouse vs. Hays, 7 p.m. (Shelton Stadium)