Though it is growing colder outside, boys and girls soccer teams at Hurst L.D. Bell and Euless Trinity are warming up for a new season, one that will have them competing in a new league. District 5-6A is generally considered one of the toughest around.
The new district also includes Lewisville, Flower Mound, Lewisville Hebron, Flower Mound Marcus, Trophy Club Nelson and Southlake Carroll. Both the boys and the girls teams throughout are rich in successful history.
The Flower Mound girls are the defending Class 6A state champions. Hebron missed the postseason in 2016 but is a perennial power with a state title in 2014, and Marcus is a playoff regular (17 out of 18 seasons) coming off a regional quarterfinals appearance. Ditto for Nelson, a state semifinalist in 2014 and state finalist in 2012 with six straight playoff appearances.
And Carroll leads all girls teams in the district with 18 straight trips to the postseason with a state finals appearance as recently as 2013.
Look at the new state rankings and that tells you all you need to know on that painful subject.
- Trinity girls coach Kurt Clawson, on the talent in the new District 5-6A
As for the boys teams in the district, Nelson won a state title in 2014 and has five straight playoff appearances, Carroll has reached the playoffs 10 consecutive years with a state championship in 2011, and Marcus and Hebron have had strong playoff histories.
Bell’s Blue Raiders are coming off a playoff appearance. They are, in fact, the only team besides Nelson and Carroll to reach the playoffs last season.
The Lady Raiders are looking for their first playoff trip since 2014.
At Trinity, the Trojans last reached the postseason in 2013, while the Lady Trojans were last there in 2015.
Here’s a look at the area teams as they prepare to open the season in the coming week.
Bell Lady Raiders
Coach Corey Rolf has a lot to smile about when he looks at his roster. Fourteen players, including seven starters, return.
The returning starters include junior Mariah Cook; sophomores Courtney Demery, Holly Madden, Sadie McGill and Kennedy Manning; and seniors Savannah McGill and Maggie Rolf.
Savannah McGill was an all-district forward last season, as were Cook as a defender, Manning at forward and Sadie McGill at goalkeeper.
The Lady Raiders are coming off an 8-9-3 season overall that saw them finish 3-6-3 in district.
Junior Kalina Heimuli, a defender and move-in from California, could provide immediate help, Rolf said.
Rolf simply calls the new district “one of the best in the state.”
Coming off a playoff appearance with 13 returners, Blue Raiders coach Scott Campbell has reason to be excited about the new season, though he understands the challenges that await in the new league.
Returning starting seniors for the Blue Raiders include all-district defender Dominic Pulido-Medrano, all-district forward Dan Kamba, outside midfielder Noah Bailey, center midfielder Hector Huazano, forward Jeremy Ifasso and goalkeeper Eulisses Overa.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming season. I have a solid team with good depth at all positions,” Campbell said. “I’m ready for January to get here so I can see what we do on the field.”
The Blue Raiders were 8-5-5 overall and 3-5-4 in district. They fell to Duncanville in bi-district.
Top newcomers for Bell include Zaiden Kethavong, Brandon Nesbitt and Benaja Ebuka.
Campbell’s assessment of the new district?
“Tough district, strong depth throughout,” he said. He added that the first round of the playoffs will be tough.
Those who do advance from 5-6A will face squads from 6-6A, which includes the likes of Allen, Denton Guyer, McKinney, McKinney Boyd, Plano, Plano East, Plano West and Wylie.
Trinity Lady Trojans
Coach Kurt Clawson’s team returns 10 players from last season’s team that was 5-12-6 overall and 3-8-1 in district. They include all-district sophomore defender Alanga Manan, all-district sophomore midfielder Britt Seaman, all-district senior midfielder Laura Loza, sophomore goalkeeper Ava Blackney and sophomore defender Balerica Oquendo as returning starters.
A key newcomer could be freshman midfielder Victoria Challis.
“A young team with a lot to learn, but we have quite a bit of talent,” Clawson said.
As for the new district, Clawson said, “Look at the new state rankings and that tells you all you need to know on that painful subject.”
The Trojans have 13 returning players, including eight starters back from a squad that was 4-12-3 overall and 2-9-1 in district last season.
Starters returning include all-district selections junior Kevin Navarrete at forward, junior midfielder Jardel Kuate and sophomore Colby Parton. Also back are juniors Zac Moreno and Mateo Gonzalez, along with sophomore Amir Ljuso and seniors Jaime Jaimes and Andrew Hackney.
Like his fellow coaches, Tracy Duren says of 5-6A, “It is one of the most talent-rich districts in North Texas. It is going to be a tough district to compete in.”