The high school soccer season has arrived for Coach Scott Dillon and the Wylie Pirates. After back-to-back seasons of losing records, the team took a big step forward last winter, going 8-8 in district play.
Still, thanks to a late-loss in their final game of the season, the Pirates’ playoff drought extended another year. With the new campaign kicking off this winter, Wylie will look to take another step forward that hopefully shatters the glass ceiling that has kept them from the postseason in recent years.
Coach Dillon and the Pirates have been hard at work, correcting the necessary issues that can help them get back to the playoffs. For starters, that will include cleaning up their form to put a more consistent product on the pitch, game after game.
“Last year was certainly a learning experience for us,” Coach Dillon said. “We flirted with the playoffs for several weeks where we were in the top four. That is something a little new for us.
“We were more consistent than we’ve been in the past,” he added. “But at the same time, we were still inconsistent. If you want to stay in that top four, you have to be consistent all year. We fell short in that area.”
The Pirates have also placed a heavy emphasis on keeping the referees out of the decisions, by playing with better technique and discipline. A year ago, the Pirates put their fate in the hands of the officials too often, and Coach Dillon made that one of his top priority’s during the offseason.
“There were some card and discipline issues that we tried to address for this year,” he said. “We feel like we’ve done a good job of that, but we will find out when the season starts. Where we go from there is consistent. If we’d been a bit more consistent (last year), we felt like we would have made the playoffs. Part of that is attitude and form. You have to go out and do what you’re asked to do the way you’re asked to do it when you are asked to do it.”
If Wylie can show the kind of polish they’ve focused on over the last several months of training, the pieces are in place to finish in the top four of District 9-6A. The Pirates have a good mix of experienced seniors, and talented underclassmen that have seen quite a bit of success at the lower levels.
Led by two-time District 9-6A Offensive Player of the Year, Jacob Booty, and last winter’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year, Alex Olive, Wylie has plenty of reason to set their goal’s high moving forward.
“We feel like we have a pretty good group here,” said Coach Dillon. “We’ve got a good group of seniors. Five of them have been starting since they were freshmen. They’ve been the core of our team for the last three years. Plus, we pulled up seven or eight sophomores that we have some confidence in. They were on that (junior varsity) team last year that went 19-3 (last winter). We’ve got a good group of experience and hunger to prove ourselves. We should have a good team this year.”
Booty opened the season with a pair of goals in the Pirates 4-2 win over Community on Dec. 12. Since then, they’ve continued to get their work in with scrimmages and practice time preparing for their first tournament of the year.
The Pirates will return action in a tournament at Highland Park this week, Dec. 4-6. There, they are set to take on Adamson, South Oak Cliff and Midlothian. Their first game will be on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
By Austin Smith • [email protected]
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