January 11, 2012
With a number of returning starters, the Lady Pirate soccer team has hopes of extending their post-season success.
In 2011, the girls won the District 15-4A title – their first district championship – and defeated three straight foes to advance to the fourth round of the playoffs, where they fell to Denton Ryan. They beat Arlington Seguin 2-0 in the bi-district playoff, Fort Worth Trimble Tech 5-0 in the area game, and Crowley 2-1 in the sectional game.
“I think that we need to build off of the success we had last year, and that is going to take a real commitment by everyone on this team to work hard every minute they have on the field,” commented head coach David Winkleman, who is assisted by Leah Haley and Becky Grohman.
The varsity players are seniors Sydney Barnette, Bailee Dawson, Alex Grossman, Ashley Harris, McKenzie Harrison, Riley Hatch, Tess Miller, Sarah Phillips, Gentry Railsback; juniors Kim Bantz, Mallory Bersi, Aubrey Caudle, Ashley Dyson; sophomores Courtney Heathington, Hannah Hiler, Maggie McKenna, Lily Middleton, Courtney Phillips, Kelci Slaughter; and freshman Lydia Rife.
Of the group, fifteen were on the varsity squad last year, and ten started. Winkleman believes that the senior leadership will be the team’s greatest asset this season. “I also think that the young kids will have a great impact this year,” he said.
Playing for the two junior varsity squads are Alex Bartesaghi, Cindy Cananeda, Krysta Caudle, BreAnne Daly, Ariel Davila, McKayla Davis, Ashley Dorries, Jackie Espinoza, Jocelyne Espinoza, Lisa Espinoza, Susanna Espinoza, Britanny Fraser, Dominique Hair, Julissa Hernandez, Zehila Hernandez, Evan Jefferson, Jennifer Krieg, Shelby Maverick, Tori Mayer, Nora Mojica, Angela Mueth, Hannah Phillips, Gloria Rangel, Gina Reynolds, Bailey Smith, Claire Smith, Shanda Solomon, Callie Thomas, Cassandra Trevino, Catherine Vasquez, Nancy Villegas, Jayci Welch, Hannah Winkleman, Kaitlin Winkleman, and Darlene Wright.
District play will begin in February, with the Lady Pirates facing Alvarado, Cleburne, Joshua, and Venus. Former district contender Hillsboro discontinued its soccer program.
To be successful, Winkleman says the girls will have to work hard, as “we have raised the bar this year. We have to approach every game as an opportunity to get better.”