Turns out, Evergreen Park’s Jade Rubalcava is a natural at soccer. Just ask her cousins. ‘That family connection.’

Growing up, gymnastics was it for Jade Rubalcava. She never played soccer until she started high school at Evergreen Park and her cousin, Noreima Hernandez, convinced her to give it a shot.

Now, Rubalcava can’t imagine her life without the sport. The junior forward is having a blast playing for the Mustangs alongside Hernandez and another of their cousins, Zayda Rubalcava.

“Zayda and I did gymnastics together and when we started high school, we tried volleyball, we tried soccer, we tried a bunch of new things,” Jade said. “I fell in love with soccer, though.

“I like scoring. I like the whole team aspect. I like being able to use my speed. I love the sport, and I’d like to continue with it on the college level.”

Jade Rubalcava has blossomed to become Evergreen Park’s leading scorer.

She produced two goals and an assist Tuesday night, leading the Mustangs to a 5-0 victory over Crete-Monee in a Class 2A St. Laurence Regional semifinal game in Burbank.

Hernandez also finished with two goals and an assist for Evergreen Park (9-8-2). Maddie Bruno added a goal and Abby Kupscuk made two saves to record the shutout.

The sixth-seeded Mustangs will take on third-seeded St. Laurence (11-10) — an 11-0 winner over Morgan Park in Tuesday’s other semifinal — at 5 p.m. Friday in the regional final.

Andrea Gutierrez Silva made two saves for 11th-seeded Crete-Monee (5-19-1).

It’s certainly a family affair for Evergreen Park with the trio of cousins all playing huge roles.

Jade Rubalcava has a team-high 14 goals. Hernandez, a senior forward, has scored nine goals. And Zayda Rubalcava, a junior, is one of the team’s defensive leaders.

Evergreen Park coach Matt Majchrowicz sees how the cousins’ chemistry plays out on the field.

“They definitely have that family connection,” Majchrowicz said. “They’re super close. They play really well together.”

Hernandez is a soccer veteran, having played the sport for eight years. She brought the trio of cousins together by asking Jade and Zayda to join the team.

Well, maybe it was more than asking.

“She forced us to try out our freshman year,” Zayda said. “But we did gymnastics for six years, so we’ve always been athletic. We wanted to do a sport in high school.

“With soccer, we like all the running. We like conditioning and practicing every day.”

Hernandez was happy to arrange the family reunion.

“I got to them play volleyball and soccer,” Hernandez said. “I just wanted to get them to try something new. Volleyball didn’t really work out but soccer has.”

Jade Rubalcava scored in the 17th minute and again in the 37th minute Tuesday night as Evergreen Park took a 2-0 halftime lead.

“I keep pushing every game, giving it 100% on the field, and I’m continuing to play to my full potential by just working with my teammates and working hard at practice,” Jade said.

Hernandez added a pair of goals in the second half before Bruno converted a penalty kick to close the scoring.

Zayda Rubalcava led the back line, along with Trinity Jones and Taylor Yeaman.

While Jade and Zayda had no soccer experience before high school, the sport certainly clicked quickly with both of them.

“Right away, I could tell that they were fast learners,” Majchrowicz said. “Jade learned how to kick the ball the right way in two or three days. You could just see them start to improve very quickly.”

Jade Rubalcava said her background in gymnastics has definitely helped.

“The speed and the flexibility I got from gymnastics is definitely big with soccer,” she said. “And it helps with just being able to do the conditioning.”

Soccer has been a natural fit for Jade Rubalcava, especially with her cousins on her side.

“It feels good to play with my own family,” she said.