Keller Citizen

Northwest ISD girls soccer teams expect to compete

Byron Nelson’s Ansley Bunger (14) returns as the team’s leading scorer from last season.
Byron Nelson’s Ansley Bunger (14) returns as the team’s leading scorer from last season. Special to the Star-Telegram

As soccer season gets underway, Northwest ISD schools have high hopes on the girls side that 2017 that Justin Northwest, Trophy Club Nelson and Haslet Eaton could all be playoff teams.

Northwest coach Josh Vaughn he is feeling pretty good about how things are shaping up for his team.

“We have an experienced team,” Vaughn said last week. “The team has been working really hard and is looking forward to putting all the hard work to use in their first tournament this weekend at the Richland Winter Blast.”

Vaughn said he he has a good nucleus of returning players to lead the way this season.

“There are quite a few players who will have an impact on this team,” Vaughn said. “The leaders of this team are Joellen Hindman, Tayler Schott, Kelsi Jones and Lexi Ihrig.”

Over at Nelson, coach Philip Salyer said things are shaping up pretty well for the Lady Bobcats so far, and said while his team did lose some firepower from last year’s squad, he is encouraged by what he has seen from the players who have filled those positions.

“With losing a big senior class and some key players, we have used the preseason to try to figure out who will fill those spaces,” Vaughn said. “We have a good core group coming back and some good newcomers who have joined the team.” Fresh faces include Lexi Burke, a junior goalkeeper from Lubbock; Kennedy Dahlin, a sophomore midfielder transfer; and Hannah Gage, a freshman forward.

“After three weeks of practice and a couple scrimmages, everyone is ready to get things started. Our tournaments and non-district games will be very important for our team to be prepared for our district,” Salyer said.

Salyer expects Ansley Bunger (leading goal scorer last year), Chaney Brugman (captain), Olenka Soko (captain) and Alexis Smith (captain) to lead the way this season.

“It is a very difficult district and it is going to take us playing consistently at a high level all year to be successful,” Salyer said. “We will need to be unified as a team like never before and need to be mentally prepared every night.”

For Eaton, coach Stephen Morris said that despite this being the inaugural varsity season for the Lady Eagles, he believes his team will hold its own.

“We are a young team with this being our first year competing at the varsity level, so we will have a big learning curve,” Morris said. “But I expect us to settle in and be competitive every single game. Expectations are high.”

Morris said his team will be led by four players to start the season, but added that he is looking for his younger athletes to do their part as well.

“I expect our goalkeeper Maddie Rea to be a leader in the back, helping to organize our defenders and being essentially an 11th field player at times,” Morris said. “In front of her is a smart defense anchored by Claudia Oster, with Kat Holloway in front helping defend and possess when we go forward.

“We also have a talented and creative midfield led by Kayla Davis, who will look to combine with our forwards and have a balanced attack. These four are also our captains. Lastly, we have some very promising underclassmen that are going to have to step up and help.”