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Sachse focused on getting back to State Tourney

by | Jan 4, 2024 | Sports

After an incredible run to the State Tournament in Coach Benjamin Buentello’s first year with the program, the expectations are high for the Sachse Mustangs. How high? The soccer team opens the year ranked sixth in Class 6A according to the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches.

Coach Buentello’s debut year featured a 16-5 regular season record before the Mustangs caught fire in route to a State Tournament appearance. They went on to fall in overtime to the eventual-State Champs from Seven Lakes High School.

Still, with a good portion of that roster back, including a pair of players that were honored on the All-State Team, it’s easy to see a repeat performance on deck. However, Coach Buentello knows there will nothing easy about getting back to the State Tournament in his second year.

“Every year is a brand new team with different combinations of players,” Coach Buentello said. “That’s kind of the nature of high school sports. We have to try to put it all together so we can get back to the State Tournament.”

“It’s a good mix that were part of our success last year, coupled with some less experienced guys that were part of a pretty good (junior varsity) team,” he added. “Those experienced guys know what it takes to get to that level. We are also expecting some big things from some guys who were on the team last year but didn’t have a big role. It will be fun to see how we gel as a team.”

Indeed, Coach Bunetello has quite a few familiar faces that helped fuel that playoff run. Returning for Sachse is goalie Josh Weston, who was voted First Team All-State following sophomore campaign that included 12 shutouts and a 0.93 goals against averaged mark.

Still, the Mustangs won’t return fellow all-stater Haris Dunic, who was also voted District 9-6A’s Defensive Player of the Year. He will be one of several players that graduated, leaving behind a big role to fill.

However, Chance Anderson returns for his senior year after earning honorable mention to the All-State teams as part of Sachse’s extraordinary defense. It’s players like Anderson and Weston that make Coach Buentello optimistic about Sachse’s chances of having similar success this year.

“Last year, the back half of the season and even in our playoff run, we were in a lot of one-goal games,” Coach Buentello said. “We were in a lot of situations where we were having to play really good defense and find the right opportunities on the attack.”

“Soccer is unlike any other sport in the nature of scoring,” he added. “Goals don’t happen very often. You find yourself in tight games more often than most other sports. Even games that don’t feel like a tight game are still up in the air until someone finds a way to break through and score. It’s always going to be tense. Having some guys back that have been in those situations helps calm the nerves. It’s huge for some of their less-experienced teammates.”

Still, it’s also important to remember this is just Coach Buentello’s second year with the program, and changes are still on the horizon. Taking over a program is never an easy transition, and while the Mustangs did see a lot of success in year one, he knows patience will continue to be a key this season.

“Last year was a bit of a culture shock for a lot of our players in my first year,” Coach Buentello said. “There is always the way it was done before. Now, the new coach wants it to be his way. There was a lot of effort on my part to get the varsity right. This year, we are going to have to be patient with some of the guys bumping up from the younger teams that are just getting used to my system and what I expect.”

The Mustangs open their year at Hebron’s tournament this week, Jan. 4-6. They will kick off the action with Southlake Carroll on Thursday at noon.

By Austin Smith • [email protected]

For more stories like this, see the January 4, 2024 print, or digital edition of The Sachse News. Subscribe today and support local journalism in your community.

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