The Birdville girls soccer team will face last year's Class 4A state runner-up Trophy Club Nelson in district play, and will see a familiar face in the process. Madison Hall was a standout for the Hawks last season, but now plays at Nelson.
Birdville coach Eddie Brown knows the Bobcats are going to be one of the state's toughest, but aren't the only challenge in a tough District 5-4A.
"Our district is ultra-competitive from top to bottom," Brown said. "Really, every game is like a playoff game. Both Denton Guyer and Nelson are ranked in the top five in the state. You get the opportunity to play them twice in district, so not only is it a measuring stick, it's a chance for your kids to grow and learn."
One of the pillars of this year's Hawks team will be NSCAA High School Scholar All-American Stephanie Sorrells. She says her squad is itching to tackle the challenge of District 5-4A, and feels that despite losing the offense Hall provided last season, the team is more cohesive this year.
"Last year we were a younger team," she said. "This year, I think people have grown, gotten bigger, more muscular, and our mental development has grown so we think faster and make better decisions when we have the ball and when we don't have the ball."
Banking on defense
The Fort Worth Arlington Heights girls squad boasts only one senior, and probably the biggest loss from last year's team was Division I recruit Macee Blanchard, who scored 24 goals. Coach Marcus Daugherty is confident in his defense, but is still waiting for someone to step up and provide the offense.
"We're still trying to find that striker that's going to put the ball in the net," he said. "Right now we're designed to win corner kicks and score on set pieces and not so much in scrimmage."
As such, Heights (6-4-1) can expect a number of low-scoring games. In fact, it has already played three scoreless draws that it eventually won in a shootout. If that trend continues in the district season, the Jackets' secret shootout weapon probably won't stay secret very long.
Freshman Audrey Reynolds is a field player during regulation, but when it comes to shootouts, Daugherty puts her in goal.
"She is quick as a cat and fearless," he said. "We haven't lost a shootout yet and that's a tribute to her."
Nearing 200 wins
Fort Worth North Side boys coach Garth Briggamen sat down after last year and reflected over his team's season record.
He then started to add up all the wins he's had at North Side since 2000, when he became the head coach. It turned out he was close to 200. He was at 188, in fact. Currently, he's at 193, so reaching 200 is a possibility this year. You might think his players would be excited about the prospect of getting him there, but Briggamen hasn't even told them yet.
"We really talk about family here, and how this year's success isn't just this team's, it's a culmination of all the teams that have come before it," Briggamen said. "I think milestones like that show that it is a culmination."
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