The battle was going to be tough for the Wylie Pirates girls soccer team to repeat the successes of the 2020-21 season, but it’s even more complicated than previously imagined.
Wylie finished the season as the 13-1 district champions of District 9-6A, outscoring opponents 107-8 throughout the regular season. With seven senior starters graduating from the team before, replicating that success was always tricky.
“It’s going to be, age-wise, an older team again this season,” head coach Chris Bezner said. “We have 12 seniors this year, but nine juniors and sophomores to work with as well. We’ve got to figure out how that’s going to look. A lot of those girls don’t have varsity experience and we’ll have to see who fits when the games get started.”
To make matters worse, Wylie also lost two significant contributors before the season began. Amelia Leggett, District 9-6A’s 2020 Most Valuable Player and leading goal scorer for the Pirates, is out for the season with an injury. The senior forward was a major part of the offensive game plan for Wylie.
“It was a different team from last year,” Bezner said. “We’re just going to try and focus on playing more sound defensively and create as many chances as we can. We haven’t put a focus on the number of goals we want to score, but the focus is just building together and focusing on the task at hand.”
Along with Leggett, senior center back Carringtyn Johnson will miss some time with an injury of her own. Johnson was a second-team all-district player last season and one of the critical pieces to a Pirates team that allowed less than a goal per game.
With the talent on the roster, coach Bezner and his players believe the task is still achievable to win the district and reach the postseason.
Wylie’s plans to work a little more structured on the offensive end. Last season’s experience allowed the team to change formations constantly and apply pressure when needed, given the forward depth of the group.
With new faces gaining experience, especially at the forward position, the Pirates will try different things on the offensive end to open up scoring opportunities.
For the complete story, see the Dec. 15 edition of The Wylie News. Support your community newspaper for less than $40 a year.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]