Lady Tigers enter 2014 with 17 returners, high hopes after deep playoff run

01/13/2014 11:32 AM

01/13/2014 11:33 AM

The Mansfield girls soccer team is coming off a season in which it won a district championship and went three rounds in the playoffs, and with most of its players from last year returning, 2014 could be even better.

The Lady Tigers have wrapped up their three scrimmages, and coach Jay Zeller said that he has been impressed with what he has seen from his team so far.

“We had some good things and some bad things in our scrimmages,” Zeller said. “It was good to expose some things that we need to work on. We were able to fill some spots with some new people.

“We faced good competition, and ultimately, I was pleased with what we learned about ourselves, and we're looking forward to putting that on the field.”

Zeller said that he has a number of strong players returning this season, including Landry Bender, Madison Wilson and Paige Taylor on the back line, and McKayla Paulson, Marcy Schengber, Sidney LeRoy and Megan Reynolds as attacking players.

Mansfield returns 17 players from last year's playoff squad.

Mansfield played Waco Midway on Tuesday night after the press deadline and will compete in the Vernon Newsom tournament beginning on Thursday. See for results.

Zeller said that he has a couple of objectives for the Newsom tournament.

“Ideally, we are looking to get a lot of minutes from a variety of players at a few different positions,” Zeller said. “In meaningful games, we are going to try to figure out what is going to work best for us. We've got a couple of different looks, we are trying to and we are just trying to pinpoint where we need to be as we get ready for district near the end of the month.

“We've got four games in two days, and if we play well enough, we are going to get a fifth game in the championship. That's a lot of time for some players to get some playing experience and get some minutes.”

Zeller said for Mansfield to repeat upon the type of success it enjoyed last season, it will take a couple of things.

“You can have a lot of skill, but at the end of the day, you are going to have to have the ball bounce your way,” Zeller said. “We are going to have to stay healthy. If we can stay healthy and get a bounce or two here and there, I think that we can be as good as anybody in this region.

“Not to take anyway anything away from any of the teams in this region, but with what we've got returners and the experience we gained last year in the playoffs, we are kind of primed. We will have to work hard and keep gelling and keep that team mentality and we should be fine.”

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