Continuing to preview the McKinney High School soccer scene, TownSquareBuzz.com will take a look at 13-4A Champion McKinney North, McKinney High and 10-5A Champion McKinney Boyd as they prepare for the 2014 season.
They were able to grab the No. 4 seed in 10-5A, but despite their record, head coach Alex Pantaratto said McKinney High will be looked at differently heading into 2014.
“They have to be somewhat scared of us,” he said of how other teams should view his Lionettes in 2014.
The main reason Pantaratto expects big things from his Lionettes is they return essentially the entire team that reached that Regional semifinal that fell to Sachse 1-0.
Pantaratto, however, said the team that lost to Sachse was a “depleted team” as the Lionettes had several injuries heading into the game.
McKinney graduated just three seniors from a team that found its way into the playoffs last season with a mix of youth and experience on the pitch.
The goal for the 2014 Lionettes is to make the playoffs once again, and with the team they return, they have a good chance of reaching that goal, Pantaratto said.
Pantaratto said he will be relying on senior goal keeper Madelynn Schober, who he called “one of the best keepers we ever had at MHS.”
He also expects strong seasons from defender Jada Holmes, midfielder Kaelyn Steitz and junior Cathy Millar, who has “blossomed” heading into 2014.
McKinney, who prides itself on being a position and “station-to-station team,” will have to play better against district opponents than they did a year ago. McKinney was able to defeat Plano East and Plano to make its way into the postseason.
The Lionettes will travel to take on Colleyville Covenant Christian Thursday at 6 p.m.
Change, however, is what the Lady Broncos got as they welcomed in coach Megan Wilson to lead the 2014 Lady Broncos back atop 10-5A.
Wilson said she “couldn’t be more excited” about what she’s seen so far from her Lady Broncos as they started the season at the Fort Worth Nolan International Prep Tournament the past few days.
Boyd fell to Westview 1-0, but swept Ursuline 3-0 and Klein Oak 4-0 Friday. The Lady Broncos completed tournament play Saturday when they took on Arlington Martin.
In her first season at Boyd, Wilson, who previously coached at Frisco Wakeland, said she knew of Boyd’s past success on the pitch, but the biggest challenge will be getting the girls to buy into her system and trust what she and her coaching staff want from them.
And so far this goal-oriented squad has done everything she has asked of them, with the goal being to get back to the state tournament.
“They have goals in mind…Their dream is to get back there,” she said.
Wilson said she will be looking for big performances from senior midfielder Elizabeth Murphy, a University of North Texas commit who she called “probably the best player on the team,” along with senior forward Katie Foster, a University of Alabama-Birmingham commit, and junior Taylor Cobb. Cobb is committing to the Air Force Academy, Wilson said.
Wilson said every season there are just a “handful of teams” that are capable of making a serious run through the state playoffs. With the talent and experience returning to Boyd in 2014, she feels the players are confident they are one of those teams.
“That’s where they want to be,” Wilson said.
Head coach Lance Lovell and the Lady Bulldogs have started the 2014 season on the foot with a 2-0 start.
North defeated Carrolton Newman Smith 4-1 Thursday in the Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD Tournament, and then took down Carrolton RL Turner 2-1 Friday.
North’s Kennedy Kitchens, Sabrina Martineau and Mallory Winburn have all played vital roles in North’s opening weekend, with Kitchens scoring two goals against Newman Smith Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs conclude tournament play Saturday against Mesquite and then will host Denton Jan. 21 at 7:15 p.m.
North will then participate in the Duncanville Kickoff Classic starting Jan. 23.