Soccer Preview: Area schools set big goals

As soccer season kicks into full gear in the state in 2011, Southern Denton County should once again be well represented come playoff time.

With some of the state’s stronger programs, along with district realignment, this year promises to be a very interesting one for our schools.

On the boys side, Marcus, once again, should be considered among the state’s best.

The Marauders head into the season as the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches top-ranked 5A boys program, and coach John Gall said he is expecting big things from his guys in 2011.

“Our ultimate goal is to win our third state championship in five years,” Gall said. “Our expectation is to make the playoffs and have a deep run in the playoffs.”

Marcus went 17-4-4 last season and won its fifth consecutive district championship.

Gall said, for his team to make another run at a state title this year, he is going to need a couple of things from his players.

“It’s going to take a consistent level of play,” Gall said. “District 8-5A is going to be a battle every game and our confidence is going to be built with a good performance week in and week out. A team going into the playoffs with confidence is one that has a chance of going far.”

Across town, coach David Doyle said he is hopeful that the Flower Mound boys can repeat upon the success they enjoyed last season, when they claimed their district’s fourth and final playoff spot and advanced to the area round of the post-season before losing in a shoot out to Plano.

“We are a very inexperienced team and have worked very hard to prepare for district play,” Doyle said. “We hope as the district season comes to the last two or three games, we have a chance to make the playoffs.”

Doyle said he has a couple of players he expects to be among the team leaders for the Jaguars this season and said he does not expect any easy matches in 8-5A competition.

“We have a couple of seniors, Taylor Sigmund and Garrett Layne, who should be our leaders,” Doyle said. “I think all our opponents will be tough.”

The Guyer boys soccer team opened up district with a bang on Jan. 31 after wrapping up a 3-2-3 record in the non-district schedule.

Guyer defeated Northwest 4-0 in its district 7-5A opener, on the strength of a two-goal night from McKenna Cook, as well as goals from Corey Barahona and Harrison Gorman.

The Wildcats advanced four rounds last season to reach the regional quarterfinals before losing 1-0 in a shoot out to Mansfield Legacy.

Legacy was among the final four teams in the state in 2010.

The Wildcats won their district championship with a 16-5-4 overall season record in 2010, and a 9-1 mark in 11-4A competition.

Over at Argyle, the Eagles boys program currently has the area’s leading scorer through the end of January, and coach Marc Koke said things are looking good for his program this season.

“We finished non-district with an 11-0 record,” Koke said. “We mainly played other 3A schools and private schools in non-district.  We won the Prosper Tournament and the Kennedale Tournament.  We had nine starters coming back from last year’s squad and had some new impact players.”

Koke counts Mats Wolthuis, Ian Sadler and Cole Hedlund, along with Jaxson Taylor, Kevin Fenley, and keeper Jay Darby to be among his team leaders.

Sadler, a freshman, was the areas leading scorer through January, with a total of 19 goals and 11 assists.
Koke said the goal is to finish in the top three in district and make the playoffs this season, and said he believes that Birdville, Ryan and Lake Dallas will be among Argyle’s most difficult opponents.

To have a good run in the post season, Koke said it will take a couple of things for Argyle.

“We must continue to play at the high level we did in non-district versus tougher district teams,” Koke said. “We will also have to play with a chip on our shoulder, being the only 3A team in our district.” 
The girls of Southern Denton County are representing their respective schools well in what promises to be a challenging year for the Marcus, Flower Mound, Guyer and Argyle soccer programs.

Marcus came into the season as the ninth-ranked program in the state according to TASCO, but with long-time coach Kevin Albury no longer at the helm and a relatively young squad in place, coach Chad Hobbs has his work cut out for him, and to this point, has met the challenge admirably.

“The season has begun very well,” Hobbs said. “We are very young with seven of our 11 starters being sophomores or freshmen.  We remain undefeated at 8-0-1 for the season with seven straight shutouts. 

“We are currently ranked #26 in the nation and #6 in the state by ESPN Rise, but the new rankings come out Tuesday, and we should move up the list due to some losses by other ranked teams in Texas.”
Hobbs said he has a number of players stepping up for him, early on, as well.

“In the attack, freshman forward Natalie Schmutz has three goals in only six games due to injury, but should score a lot of goals for us,” Hobbs said. “She is very dynamic on the ball and has great speed.  Sophomore forward Katelyn Mountjoy will also provide a threat in the attack.  She currently has three goals and two assists.  Our two midfield play makers are sophomores MJ Eckart and Emily Morrow. 

“Our defense is very solid anchored by center backs, junior Lexi Jordan and freshman Maddie Brem and outside backs, junior Nicole Henderson and sophomore Courtney Forte.  In the goal is senior Reilly Fetzko who has already recorded seven shutouts in the first nine games.”
Marcus finished fourth in district last season to claim a post-season berth, and in spite of the obstacles the Lady Marauders face with youth and inexperience at the varsity level, Hobbs has a lot of confidence in his young team.

“We expect to compete for the district title and then have a deep run in the playoffs,” Hobbs said. “If we can remain consistent, we can play with anybody in the state.”

Hobbs said he anticipates Flower Mound and Hebron being his team’s two most difficult district opponents this season.

Over at Flower Mound, coach Trina Hamner said her team is hungry to improve upon it’s fifth place finish in district competition last season, and said, so far, things are looking pretty good.

“The team is shaping up nicely,” Hamner said. “We have a large squad this year (27 girls), and they are embracing each others’ unique talents and strengths well. 

“The word I would use to describe our team this year is “family.”  Even though we are large number wise, we are tight like a family and look out for each other well.”

Hamner believes that Plano West will be the team to beat in 8-5A this season, and said she expects a number of players to lead the way for the Lady Jags in 2011.

“Senior Captain Andi Baird does a great job for us up front,” Hamner said. “Unfortunately, one of our key finishers from last year, Jessica Broadbent, is out this season for her knee.  Stepping up to help Andi up top will be Laurel DeSilvey, Alex Pfingston, Kelsey Graves, and Shelby Wilson.

“Junior Captain Kennedy Depperschmidt as well as Junior Hailee Hunn really hold down our midfield with help on the outsides from senior captain Alexa Bottoms and senior Chelsea Collins.  In the back we have senior captain Alex Wurst who helps lead the defense with junior sweeper Katie Stewart.”
Hamner said the objective for Flower Mound this season is pretty obvious.

“We are focused on getting to playoffs this year,” Hamner said. “We were so close last year and really are going to leave everything on the field to reach that goal this year.”

For Guyer High School, a trip to last year’s regional finals could fuel another long playoff run in 2011.
The Lady Wildcats opened the post-season with an impressive 4
-0 victory over Aledo last year, and then went on to beat Wichita Falls Rider, Denton Ryan, Mansfield Timberview and Midlothian, before finally losing to Randall in the regional finals.

Guyer was 7-0-2 through the non-district schedule this season, but did lose its first district match to Northwest.

For Argyle High School, the Lady Eagles are looking to rebound from a winless 2010 district campaign, and coach Jennifer Goodpastor said the main thing her team needs right now is some experience.

“We have a relatively young team,” Goodpastor said. “We have one senior and two juniors.  I am really working on the technical skills of all the girls in order to create a long term program since this is my first year coaching the girls.”

Goodpastor said there are a couple of goals for this coming season.

“Our objective for each match is to improve with every game, and for each player to recognize her strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on those strengths and minimize any vulnerability,”
Goodpastor said. “In our pre-season, we have had only a couple set backs to that goal. Our most ardent desire is to make the 4A district playoffs as a 3A school.”

There are three players Goodpastor expects to take on a leadership role for the Lady Eagles this season.
“My team leaders are Christina Odom, Tess Athey and Ella Galvin,” Goodpastor said. “Christina is our lone senior, and she was an all district player last year.  She is a leader because she watches the dynamics of the team and understands that team unity and team work are the keys to a successful year. 

“I’ve watched her take younger players aside and discuss plays and techniques and communicate our team vision one on one.”

Goodpastor said, for her team to make the playoffs, she will need her experienced players to set a good example.

“The key to the team this year is for the older players to mentor the younger ones,” Goodpastor said. 

“We have small team goals to accomplish, and these ‘stair steps’ will help us conquer our biggest goal—to make the playoffs for the first time in the Argyle girls’ soccer history.”

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