MCALLEN – 2016 was a year of highlights for the McAllen High girls soccer team. A district title was followed up with a trip to the regional semifinals. The young Bulldogs ended the season in the sweet 16.
“We did well in the Valley, but going there, we need a lot more practice,” said Jackelyn Lemus.
Four players graduated from last year’s squad including leading scorer Anna Hover. Replacing their top striker will take a team effort.
“We needed to work more as a team,” said Ava Alaniz. “Maybe not be so dependent on like one or two people. Everyone is important and everyone plays a major role and there’s no this person or that person.”
Seven sophomores make up the team’s young core. Each got experience on varsity last year.
“I think we all know what to expect now, and we’re just used to playing with everyone,” said Alaniz. “The majority of us play together outside of school anyways, but then gelling with the people that were already here like the juniors and seniors.”
“They go to the ball,” said Lemus. “They’re not afraid anymore because they’re ready for the challenge.”
It’s easy to see there’s a lot of chemistry among the young team. As the new seasons gets going, the Bulldogs hope that camaraderie helps them adjust to new roles.
“For us preseason is really hard so we’ve tried to focus on that again this year,” said Emily Gurwitz. “We’re ready for teams like Vandegrift and Harlingen South in the playoffs again.”
The Bulldogs recently finished the McAllen ISD Showcase undefeated. Next up, they’ll play in a Corpus Christi tournament that kicks off Thursday.