With as many as seven sophomores in starting roles this season, the Fort Worth Paschal girls soccer team has dealt with growing pains. Still, the Panthers are in the thick of the playoff race and are poised to make the postseason.
A lot of the players are still learning to play at this level, so each game is a lesson, coach Jason Grammer said. What can you take from it and what did we do wrong and how can we correct it in the future?
Much of the teams success can be attributed to its defense, which starts with sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Sisson and defenders Cameron Ramsey, Chloe Contreras and Abigail Bourland.
Grammer said Contreras and Bourland have also served as solid senior leaders to help bring this young team along and hes seen great strides over the course of the regular season.
Theyve done well given their experience level, Grammer said. Theyre learning the level of play and gaining experience. Theyre very coachable and we have a very bright future.
A future that could include playoff experience.
We just need to finish out the second half of the regular season and play each game with heart and I think we have a fair shot at making it [to the postseason], Grammer said.
Tigers jell for playoffs
The Mansfield boys find themselves in rare territory on the outside looking in at the playoff race. Coach John Fazekas feels like the proud tradition of the Tigers program may be weighing on this teams mindset.
I think so very much, he said. Last year, when we were so successful, when the season was over, all the kids still in the program they all just talked about getting back to the state tournament and they put the pressure on themselves that way.
On top of that, he added, When we first started playing this season, the teams we were playing against were saying, Hey, these guys went to state last year, lets see if we can knock them out.
Fazekas feels like his team, which was full of new faces to begin the season, is finally coming together at the right time.
Were seeing more goal-scoring opportunities, he said. Our defense is finally jelling as a unit. So I really believe from this point forward we have a legitimate chance of knocking these other teams off and getting into the playoffs.
We know going in that its do or die; weve got to get out there and get some points in these final four games if we want to be part of the playoff hunt.
A new distraction
Arlington Martin girls coach Ruth Knight has been around a long time, and is learning to deal with a new phenomenon that surrounds high school sports: technology. Not technology as in equipment, but as in social media.
Its brand new, so I never thought about having to tackle it or being that concerned about it, or actually using it as a motivational tool, Knight said.
Knight has witnessed how social media has impacted her team, both positive and negative.
We talk about technology and about being appropriate, she said. Ive told them dont give the other team fuel to fire them up against us. And dont get too caught up in it, because talk is cheap.
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