Fort Worth Nolan Catholic has a proud tradition when it comes to girls soccer, and this may have been the best overall season for the program.
Though the squad fell short of its goal of a state championship, the Vikings received national recognition on the way to a 24-2-5 record.
If not driving, but certainly steering, the Nolan ship this season was junior striker Gwennie Puente. The first-team TAPPS all-state selection racked up 49 goals and 16 assists, more than doubling her total of last season when she was also an all-state selection.
“She scored in many different ways. She scored with her head; she scored on breakaways, on long-range goals. She got herself in really good spots,” Nolan coach Jay Fitzgerald said.
“Her poise in and around the goal [were improved this season]. She had a little more confidence, a little more balance and coordination when taking shots. Her versatility around the goal changed. She’s a much better student of the game.”
Puente’s output also earned her national recognition, and she is among the nominees for the Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas, which will be announced later this month.
Fitzgerald has no doubt that Puente’s success on the field starts with her attitude toward training.
“She’s going to work hard, she’s going to leave it all out there. I think she thinks, ‘If I’ve got nothing to learn today, I’m done, I shouldn’t be doing this.’ So, she’s like a sponge. She’s taking information in. She treats training like it’s an actual game, and everyone feeds off that energy.”
Puente has already committed to Texas Tech, but the dynamic forward still has another year with the Vikings.
“Next year, I’m more excited than ever because she’s obviously gotten better every single year and she’s going to want to top that,” Fitzgerald said.