The Byron Nelson girls soccer team is coming off of a season in which it advanced all the way to the state tournament before coming up just short against Wylie East.
Coach Phillip Salyer said his team is hoping to pick up right where it left off in 2013-2014, albeit in a new district and larger classification.
“So far, we've had two good tournaments, and we've been able to kind of a get a taste of playing some 6A schools, which was good,” Salyer said. “We had some good competitions and played in some good games that have helped us to progress as a team. We have run into some injuries and sickness the last week or two, so we have not had our full team for a while, but we're headed in the right direction.”
Salyer said he expects a couple of players to be among his stronger returners this season for the Lady Bobcats and to serve the necessary leadership roles.
“We have Katina Tsapos, who is a junior this year,” Salyer said. “She's one of our stronger players. Then we have Ansley Bunger, and she has scored quite a few goals for us in the preseason. That was one of the questions we had heading in was who was going to step up and score goals for us this year.
“Karen Roseberry is also returning at center back, and she's going to be important. We have a lot of returners this season.”
Nelson was 6-1 through its first seven games of the season.
Salyer said the success the team enjoyed last season is something he hopes his players will build on in the 2014-2015 campaign and said he believes that is more than capable of happening.
“It was a very special year,” Salyer said. “The team really came together near the end of district play and in the playoffs. It was a great run. We were a young team last year, and I really think that we played our best soccer near the end of the year, which is great.
“I hope that is going to help us moving into this year. We were a young team last year, and all of those players that are back have that much more experience this year.”
Salyer said he is not quite sure how his team will be affected by realignment, but said he does know one thing about his new district with near certainty.
“I think we'll be competitive,” Salyer said. “I think the difference is that we are going to have to be playing our best soccer every Tuesday and Friday. Last season, we could have a bad night every now and then and still pull out a win. In our new district, that's not going to happen.”
In order to repeat upon the kind of success his team enjoyed last season, Salyer said he believes it will take a couple of things.
“I think we are going to need to develop that consistency, because we can play good soccer,” Salyer said. “It's just a matter of, can we do it game in and game out? Can some of our younger players learn their roles? Finishing our chances will be important, and if we can do those things, we will be competitive in every game.”