Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Area soccer teams ready to roll

Hopes are high for a number of area programs as the 2022-23 soccer season gets underway.

The southern Denton County region featured multiple teams in last year’s playoffs and this season holds a lot of potential as well.

The Marcus girls reached the regional finals in 2022 and return some serious firepower this season.

Coach Erin Hebert said things are shaping up nicely so far for the Marcus girls in 2023 and added that she has “a stellar group of young ladies who are driven, competitive, and determined to get better” each day.

“They are a talented bunch, but what I love most about them is how hard they work for each other,” Hebert said. “Our team has excellent senior leadership this year. They set the tone and standard for what we do here, and I’m proud of how well they lead by example.

“I’m also excited about the tenacity of the younger players on our team who have come in and made an immediate impact on the field. This team is so much fun to coach; I’m looking forward to a great season.”

The Lady Marauders finished 10-1-3 in 6-6A competition and won a district championship last season, finishing 23-2-3 overall.

Marcus returns standouts Caroline Castans, Bella Campos and Chloe Adams. Other players to watch this season include Maddie Hayes and Madi Patterson.

“For our team to have a successful season and make the playoffs this year, we need to use the momentum from the success we’ve had early this season to drive us forward through district play,” Hebert said. “There’s no doubt we play in one of the most competitive districts in the state of Texas.

“In District 6-6A, you’re guaranteed a highly competitive match every Tuesday and Friday night. We can’t get comfortable, and we’ve got to commit ourselves to learning and growing from every game we play this year.”

One of Marcus’ three district draws last season came against rival Flower Mound, a team that reached the third round of the playoffs in 2022 before losing to the Lady Marauders.

Coach Misail Tsapos said he did lose a lot of players to graduation, but said he is still encouraged by what he has seen from his team so far.

“We have a very young team,” Tsapos said. “We’ve had to start all over, but the kids have responded well so far.”

Players to watch for the Lady Jags this season include Maya Cordova, Carly Gekas, Emma Hoang and Rory Schank.

Flower Mound finished 14-5-3 overall and went 9-3-2 in district last year, and Tsapos said to repeat on that kind of success, his team will need to focus on two things.

“We have to play within ourselves and execute the game plan,” Tsapos said.

Over in Denton, the Guyer girls soccer team is also coming off of a playoff season, and coach Mandy Hall said she, too, is in a bit of a rebuilding year.

“We have a very young team this season,|” Hall said. “We graduated 11 seniors and 8 starters, so we have focused this preseason on building team chemistry and learning how to play together. We have made great strides in that process and have grown a lot in our short preseason. We are taking each game one at a time and learning in each one.”

Players to watch for Guyer include Emerson Garcia, Natalie Mayes and Courtlyn Cook.

The Lady Wildcats finished 12-6-2 last season and lost to Marcus in the bi-district round by a score of 2-1, and to get back to the playoffs, Hall said it will take a couple of things.

“We are going to have to lean on our leaders and remain focused on playing together,” Hall said. “As we learn and continue to grow on the field, we will need to be consistent and to support each other in new roles and with new faces on the field. We will need to play smart, organized defense and capitalize on the chances we get in the attacking third.”

In Argyle, Marcus Koke guided his team to a regional finals appearance as well in 2022, and is optimistic about the Lady Eagles’ chances this season.

“We have a lot of returning starters from last year and our new girls are doing a good job of developing chemistry with our returning players,” Koke said. “We have a very strong senior class this year. All four of our Captains are seniors (Ella Atkins, Kennedi Banar, Kaitlyn Niemeyer, and Sophie Placke) and they will do a great job of leading our team this year.”

Argyle finished 24-2-1 and won the district 6-4A championship in 2022, and Koke said there a couple of objectives for 2023.

“Being that this is our first year in 5A and we are in a very talented district, we want to finish in the top four and qualify for the playoffs and make a deep playoff run,” Koke said.

Over at Liberty Christian, the Lady Warriors finished 12-5 overall last season and lost to Bishop Lynch in the area round by a score of 1-0 following a first round bye.

Players to watch for Liberty this season include Danielle Kay Aitken and Ellie Reese Meredith.

On the boy’s side, the Argyle soccer team reached the area round of the playoffs in 2022, and coach

Benjamin Parks said he is pleased with what he has seen so far early this year.

“Things are shaping up to be an exciting first season in 5A soccer,” Parks said. “We’re excited for the competition and looking forward to testing ourselves against really strong opponents in district play.”

Look for Patrick Sapp, Austin Roberts, Brooks Castleberry, Kayden Ayala, Anthony Ruvalcaba and Will Troseth to lead the way for the Eagles this season.

Argyle went 17-5-2 overall and 4-1-1 in district last season and reached the area round.

To get back to the postseason, Parks said his team will need to “be very strong at home and take as many points as possible,” and to “play good defense on the road and let the chips fall where they may.”

Up the road at Liberty Christian, the Warriors are looking to rebound from a 6-13-1 record in 2022, and coach Jorge Anduray said there will be a lot of new faces this season.

“We are a very young team, but playing quite well as we are being competitive in district play,” Anduray said.

Players to watch for the Warriors this season include Cody Lowe, Cooper Stephens, Aidan Allred, Mathew Harrison and Edgar Suarez.

Anduray said to get things back on track in 2023, it will take a couple of things.

“In order to make the playoffs, we need to continue to play our style and remain healthy and free of injuries,” Anduray said.

Over at Flower Mound, the Jaguars finished second in district 6-6A competition last season and coach David Doyle said “things are going good so far,” as the 2023 campaign gets underway.

“I have a few that I am hoping to step up,” Doyle said.

Those players include Luke Spaulding, Colby Deleeuw and Preston Merrick.

The Jags lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs last season in a shoot out to McKinney Boyd, and

Doyle said to have another strong year his team will simply need to “be consistent.”

Across town at Marcus, the Marauders are looking to rebound from missing the playoffs in 2022, and coach Sam Garza said he likes how things are shaping up.

“I am really pleased with how are group has been coming together so far,” Garza said. “We had 12 seniors leave last year, so I was not sure how they would come together. But we have strong senior leadership this year mixed in with some good talent, so that has helped tremendously so far. We have had a few injuries, so we have been a little inconsistent to start, but district is where it counts.”

Players to watch for Marcus this season include Nate Golden, Sebastian Salazar, Stefano Tognetti, Artian Rifati and Aaron Pondeca.

Marcus finished 9-10-4 overall in 2022 with a district record of 7-6-3, and to reach the postseason in 2023, Garza said a couple of things will need to happen.

“We will need to stay healthy, and we are going to have to compete in every game this year as our district is super strong,” Garza said.

Over at Guyer, the Wildcats finished fourth in district 5-6A competition last season and lost to state runner-up Plano following double overtime and a shootout in the bi-district round.

Coach Trent Wisdom said if his team can gain consistency, he will be feeling very good about their chances.

“We are implementing new ideas and really placing the ownership on this senior class, making sure they read and understand the game clearly so we can continue to find success,” Wisdom said. “We have had moments where we have put things together. Right before district play, we scored 14 goals in just 4 games. We are hoping to find our stride very soon.”

Guyer finished 9-8-3 overall last season, and Wisdom said getting back to the playoffs is within grasp if his players’ focus is in the right area.

“We have to continue to be process-driven instead of results-driven,” Wisdom said. “Results can often be an incorrect representation of how the game went. We need to stay true to our standards and expectations no matter the opponents we face.”

In Justin, Northwest is gearing up for what has the potential to be another strong season in 2023.

“Things continue to trend upward,” said coach Aaron Monaghen.

Monaghen said he is expecting big seasons from Trayton Greer and Grayson Bowler this year, among others.

“These guys can do amazing things on and off the ball and make everyone around them better,” Monaghen said. “Expect goals and assists from both of these young men this season,”

The Texans finished 11-10-2 overall last season and reached the bi-district round of the playoffs.

“Success for us this season will be making a playoff run,” Monaghen said. “Our district will be very competitive, but I’d back our guys any night against any opponent. We are hoping to find our stride very soon.”

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