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Girls soccer: Back for more: Flower Mound hoping to build on last year’s district title
Last season, Flower Mound’s girls soccer team had a banner campaign, claiming a district title for the first time in program history, including a win over eventual state champ Plano West.
In 2013, with a roster that includes 27 players and features 12 returners and eight starters back, expectations are as high as ever as the Lady Jaguars are hopeful of a repeat and then some.
“We have a very deep roster that I think is really going to be beneficial to us,” said Trina Hamner, Flower Mound head coach. “We have strong talent all the way through and our goal is to win district again and see where we can go from there. But we know we have to take it one match at a time.”
Flower Mound — which is ranked No. 9 in the nation according to the Elite Soccer Report — took its first step to that goal Thursday-Saturday when they competed at the National Elite Prep Showcase hosted by Fort Worth Nolan (results not available as of press time).
In addition to the eight returning starters, the Lady Jaguars have six captains with varsity playing time.
Leading the charge is junior midfielder Emma Heckendorn, who shared District 8-5A MVP honors as a sophomore last year with Marcus’ Emily Morrow.
Also returning with all-district honors are senior goalie Jordan Anderson (Goalkeeper of the Year), senior forward Gabi D’Alessandro (first team), senior midfielder-defender Megan Crafton (second team), senior midfielder Hannah Joseph (second team), senior forward Shelby Wilson (second team) and junior midfielder Sydney Rapp (second team).
Four-year letterman and senior defender Jessica Broadbent joins Heckendorn, D’Alessandro, Crafton and Rapp as captains on the squad.
First-teamer and senior midfielder AV Vigil was also slated to return but will miss the season with an injury, presenting the Lady Jaguars with an early challenge.
“We’ve already seen in practice that we have girls who are going to be able to step up and take her place,” Hamner said. “Hannah and Megan have done a good job and it’s just going to mean even more playing time for some of our other girls.”
Rounding out the midfielders are juniors Stephanie Stang, Victoria Ambriz, Mackensie Morrison, Alex Lowery, Kennedy Miller, sophomore Jordan Mulnix and freshman Christan Perkins.
“Emma can do it all for us,” Hamner said. “Stephanie has great footwork and is a playmaker, and Kennedy is going to play more midfield after playing defense last year. She just gives us more there with her ability to attack and play in space.”
Joining D’Alessandro and Wilson at forward are junior Alexia Hix, sophomore Ariel Leach and Perkins.
“Gabi is a talented player who scored a bunch of key goals for us last year,” Hamner said. “Alexia is really ready to step in and take on a bigger role and Ariel is in her first year on varsity but brings a ton of speed and athleticism to the position. Christan will also see a little playing time up top and has a great shot if she gets the chance to let it fly.”
Hamner also noted that the squad will have stylistic change as a result of its talent up front.
“In the past, we had more of a defensive attack out of the back,” she said. “But this year we’re really going to try and spread it out to have more of an offensive attack and get numbers up front. We have a lot of speed and we need to use that to our advantage.”
Flower Mound’s defense will be led by Broadbent, who transitions to the back after spending last season at forward.
“She injured her knee last year, so we’re hoping we can get a full season from her,” Hamner said. “We lost pretty much our entire defense from last year, so we had to make a few changes to fill those spots. We really like what Jessica brings to the back with her leadership ability and her eye for the ball.”
Rapp will also see time at defense after playing primarily midfield last year.
“It’s going to be one of our biggest challenges,” Hamner said. “Sydney has been doing well and we have a couple of girls new to the varsity team that are stepping up. MaKenna Johnson, Megan Heckendorn and Sarah Stewart have been doing well.
“Taylor Harmon and Jordan have been filling in too. One of our keys during the preseason is to figure out which four kind of fit the best at defense and work well together.”
While Anderson provides a talent in goal, Caitlin McCarrell and Madison James will also see time.
Flower Mound will compete for a playoff spot in a stacked District 5-5A that includes Hebron, Marcus, Lewisville, Coppell and Denton Ryan.
“The girls are super excited to get started, but at the same time we know it is going to be a challenge coming in with a target on our back,” Hamner said. “We have to work as hard as we ever have. And even though we are in a new district, it isn’t going to get any easier. We still have the LISD schools and instead of the Plano schools, we have Coppell and Ryan. It’s going to be a big challenge.”