With each passing game, the Guyer girls soccer team is one step closer to returning to Georgetown to defend its Class 4A state championship later this month.
The next bump in the Lady Wildcats’ road is a matchup tonight with Wichita Falls, set for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Saginaw’s Rough Rider Stadium.
“They’re realizing this thing really gets started right now,” Guyer coach Kenny Blevins said. “They all know what to expect. It’s going to be the seniors’ leadership that is important and convincing the team that we just can’t look ahead to anything.”
Guyer (16-2-3) will look to get past the Lady Coyotes (14-4-5), runners-up in District 9-4A, in order to move on to the regional quarterfinals, where the winner will face Burleson Centennial or Fort Worth Arlington Heights for a chance to play in the regional tournament next weekend.
One place where the Lady Wildcats have no seniors is their back line of defense, an area that was so strong for the state championship squad a year ago but struggled to come together early this season.
Blevins praised his young defenders’ recent play, led by freshmen Morgan Wessling and Kylie Cobb, as well as juniors Amber Krinner and Ola Akinniyi, who just joined the team after finishing basketball season.
“They were out there fighting through the beginning of the year when things were a bit foggy,” Blevins said. “Now they have it under control and it’s really going to help us. I’m really happy with our backs right now. Whatever happens back there now isn’t going to be because of inexperience but just one of the breaks of the game.”
Tonight, that back line will have to deal with a dangerous scorer in Wichita Falls’ Madison Sapp, who leads the Lady Coyotes with 14 goals — the only double-digit goal scorer on the roster.
“They’re pretty direct,” Blevins said of Wichita Falls’ attack. “They try to get the ball to her, and she’ll dish it off quickly in three or four touches and then just try to get behind the backs to get the ball back. We have to be sure we cut that initial pass off and not let her get in between our backs with her behind us.”
Blevins said some of his criticisms of his team’s mindset recently are just to find areas to improve, not out of a lack of confidence in its chances to play next week.
“Our team is a tough team,” Blevins said. “I wouldn’t want to play against us. When I look at our weaknesses, I’m just looking at things to improve on. I think we should be able to go out and take care of business and win this game. If we don’t, we would’ve fallen way below our expectations.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.