Girls soccer seeks postseason return


Senior #22 Claire Gantzer controls the ball in the varsity match against Lewisville on Jan. 12. The game finished in a 3-0 win for Plano. Photo credit to Varsity Views.

Khara Ekes, Staff Writer

With the knowledge that there is a tough season ahead of them, the girls varsity soccer team is preparing to try and make a return to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

In order to do so, varsity head coach Mary Clarke has studied the team’s performance over the past few seasons to try and determine what exactly the team has been doing wrong.

“Over the last few years, one of our weaknesses has been scoring,” Clarke said. “We needed to try to rectify that, along with our other weaknesses, during preseason play.”

The team performed well at the preseason Frisco tournament, winning three of their four games including a 5-0 victory over Frisco Liberty. Aside from the on-field tactics, one of the biggest recent struggles for the team has been their ability to work well together.

“In past years, I might have said that team chemistry would be our biggest challenge, but this year we’re not battling that,” Clarke said. “I feel like everyone is meshing well, so that’s kind of exciting.”

The team has continued their good form into district play this season, remaining undefeated in District 6-6A with wins over Lewisville, Hebron and Plano East. This positive start in District 6-6A suggests better fortunes this season for team members like junior defender Emma Bonin.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time and focus on winning each individual game,” Bonin said. “This way, we have the best chance of finishing in the top-four in district and making the playoffs.”

Although the team has faced their struggles in past years, Clarke has tried to keep the team focused on playing to each of their individual strengths within the team.  

“I think that they’re all internally motivated to do well,” Clarke said. “They want to work hard for each other out on the field and of course do well personally too.”

After gathering twelve points from their opening six district matches, the team sits in first place in District 6-6A, although team members like Bonin know that a long season lies ahead.

“In our district, it’s always very competitive every single game,” Bonin said. “Plano West has been a tough opponent for us recently, and it’s always head-to-head with them, so this year we really want to beat them.”

In preparation for this season’s schedule of games, Clarke has put together a workout regiment for the team in order to improve the team’s conditioning level. Senior midfielder Alexis Rodriguez is one of the players who has participated in the regiment during offseason practices and in the early stages of the district season.

“We’ve been doing a lot of fitness work to get in shape and we do a bunch of technical practices,” Rodriguez said. “We’re also trying to learn how to connect with each other better at the same time.”

While this current roster of players has never made the playoffs, the team’s self-belief is unaffected.

“I can definitely see us making the playoffs,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’ve gotten a lot better since last year and hopefully this year will go better for us.”