Soccer Insider: Fort Worth Wyatt boys focused on playoff mission

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Since the introduction of boys soccer as a UIL sport in 1982, Fort Worth Wyatt has never made the playoffs. The Chaparrals are convinced that 2014 is when the dry spell ends.

“We have like 12 or 13 seniors, so we’re experienced. They’ve been with me for four years already, so we’ve been growing up together as a team and we’re ready. We’re going to make it happen this year, I’m sure,” coach Rafael Avalos said.

Wyatt (10-4, 1-2 District 13-4A) got off to a solid start, winning nine of its first 11 matches, but the Chaps stumbled entering district play, dropping their first two games against South Hills and North Side — both by 2-1 scores.

Avalos is sure his squad has the ability to rebound and keep its postseason dreams alive.

“We might not have the talent that North Side and South Hills have, but we’ve got heart and these guys are mentally strong,” he said. “We’ve been working with them mentally, physically and technically — but especially mentally. They’re there. We’re going to bounce back in district.”

The Chaps picked up their first district win in a 5-0 domination of Western Hills on Tuesday. The team should also get a boost when senior captain Julian Gonzalez returns from injury. The sweeper sustained a serious laceration in the match against North Side, requiring a dozen stitches.

“He told the trainers just to tape it up, that he was ready to go [back in the game],” Avalos said. “That’s the way my team is. They’re pure heart.”

Lake Ridge surprise

The Mansfield Lake Ridge girls failed to make the playoffs last year in the school’s inaugural season, and coach Kim Wallace didn’t have high expectations for 2014 — until the team started piling up wins.

“I was thinking this year was just going to be another building year,” Wallace explained. “I was thinking by Year 3 we should be in good shape so, honestly, I really was surprised.”

Through the first round of matches in District 16-4A, the Eagles (13-3-1) sit in second place at 5-2. Perhaps even more impressive about Lake Ridge’s success is that it’s coming with four freshmen in the starting lineup. Wallace didn’t have any idea her team would be as far along as it is. However, she’s also encountering the challenges associated with coaching a talented, but young and inexperienced squad.

“The hard part about having a younger team is keeping them motivated,” she said. “As you start beating teams, the girls have a tendency to start getting confident, and at times overly confident.”

Wallace feels that’s what happened in the team’s loss to Crowley on Tuesday.

“We just didn’t come out as strong as we should have, and, of course that led to a loss,” she said. “But they’re learning that no one is going to give you anything.”

Country Day’s title

Fort Worth Country Day won the championship of the SPC Division II girls tournament last weekend, shutting out St. Mary’s Hall 2-0 in the championship match. While the team would like to have been part of the Division I tournament, it was a successful way for the club’s seniors to go out.

“We have two seniors that have been here since the start, and it was a good way for them to finish, because I always want them to have something to remember their last year,” coach Tarik Guendouzi said.

The Falcons finished their campaign on a six-game winning streak in which they outscored opponents 30-2.

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