By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor
Through seven matches, the 2013 season has not been too kind to the McKinney North boys soccer team.
After starting the season off with a 3-1 victory at home versus Lovejoy, the Bulldogs have lost six matches in a row including a 1-0 loss to crosstown rival McKinney High earlier this month. With only four matches remaining in the non-district portion of the season, the senior laden Bulldogs are hoping to lean on their veteran leadership to get back on track before district play begins on Feb. 12.
“The season is only beginning and we have played a number of ranked opponents and held our own pretty well,” said head coach Tommy Sills. “There has been constant improvement every game and I believe we will have success come district play.”
The Bulldogs have 16 seniors currently on the varsity roster, something Sills points to for the reason why there is not too much panic going on around the team.
“The team is built upon a foundation of upper classmen,” said Sills. “Don’t get me wrong this does not guarantee wins, but it does guarantee a competitive edge. These kids don’t want to go out as loser. I am hoping they will use the struggles they have experienced early in the season and use it as a learning experience.”
Undoubtedly the most important piece of the puzzle for the Bulldogs is senior Morgan Dizney, who is regarded as one of the top senior players in the DFW area according to many experts. Dizney was selected as a “player to watch” this season by the Dallas Morning News earlier this month.
“While Dizney is a key asset to the team from a statistical perspective, he is also a leader on the field,” said Sills. “As a senior player, we have high expectations for him moving forward this season.”
Last season Dizney finished the year with 20 goals and 21 assists, which were both in the top-10 among players in the 4A area. He also became the first junior in school history to win the district MVP award.
Despite the lofty numbers he put up a season ago, it has been a slow start for Dizney and the entire Bulldog offense in 2013. Dizney currently has zero goals on the season while the team has scored just six goals total in seven matches, including being shut out in four of them.
While Dizney is worthy of the hype around his play, Sills said that captain Johnson Jones is another player that will be key to North’s success this season.
“Jones a versatile player who is both fast and quick,” said Sills. “He is a valuable asset to our team. Wherever we need him the most, he can play defense or offense.”
Even though the record may not show it, Sills believes that his players have shown positives in their play through the non-district portion of the schedule.
“We control the ball well but we need to learn how to finish and capitalize on our opportunities,” said Sills. “We have a tendency to get the ball funneled into the center of the field, so we need to work on getting the ball outside and switching it up.”
In a district with just five teams, every game will be of upmost importance for the Bulldogs as they hope to make it back to the playoffs this season. North finished in second place last season in District 17-4A behind MHS, but lost to Frisco Liberty 3-0 in the bi-district round.
The Bulldogs will get their first taste of 17-4A play on Feb. 12 when they host Denison at the North Competition Field. The next game on the schedule in non-district action is Tuesday night at Frisco Centennial.
Click here for North’s full schedule.
TSB’s Colin Bado contributed to this report.