Soccer girls capture district title, eye return to state tournament

Sophomore Emma Yeager dribbles up the field and looks for a teammate to cross to against Klein Collins on Jan. 12. The Panthers tied Klein Collins 1-1.

Arleigh Doehring, Staff Writer

For two-consecutive years, the girls soccer team reached the state tournament. Last year, they were primed to make it three in a row when COVID-19 ended their season early. Now, they want to return and reach the championship game. With a record of 17-1-3, the team is undefeated in district play and has a 16-game win streak.

”The first part of the season was rocky because we graduated about half of our team last year so we had a lot of younger players coming in,” senior defender Lori Do said. “A lot of freshmen and sophomores had to step up, so it was definitely a challenge, but we had hard pre-season tournaments that helped a lot and the team came together pretty well.”

They have scored 81 goals this season and allowed only 7 en route to another district title. Only two games remain in district play this week, and then the team will shift its focus to the playoffs. Bi-district games will be held March 25-27

“I think there has been a lot of growth, both individually and as a group,” coach Jess White said. “We are mixing a lot of experience with our returning players and we are also adding a lot of exciting talent and energy with our new players. We have had to merge the two. We still have a long ways to go, but we have seen a lot of exciting growth and development.” 

This season, the team is close to breaking the record for the most goals scored in a single season and capture the program’s 250th win. They are eight wins away. Sophomore Emma Yeager has 35 goals, five away from the single-season record of 40. She scored 36 last season before the season ended early because of the coronavirus.

Five starters returned, including Yeager, Do, center back Cora Morgenroth, 12, goalkeeper Samantha Valadez, 12, and midfielder Kathleen Ortiz, 11. The new players who have moved up or joined the program are aiming for the same goals as the returners.

”[Going to state] motivates me and I think our team as well just because we were on a really good track to make it back to state and it got cut short,” Yeager said. “I think we would have made it to state and most likely done pretty well.”