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Lady Mustangs fired up to open new season

by | Jan 5, 2024 | Sports

January is officially here, which means the Sachse Lady Mustangs are back on the soccer pitch. It seems like it’s been too long since the girls saw a terrific season come to a disappointing end in the opening round of the playoffs against Tyler Legacy.

It was an earlier exit than expected, considering Sachse had won 17 of their previous 19 contests leading up to the matchup. Since then, the girls have been hard at work with the memory of that contest fueling their drive for the upcoming season.

The good news for Coach Kristen Campbell is there are a lot of players returning from last year’s squad.

“We had a great team last year,” Coach Campbell said. “Obviously every season is different, but we have a lot of players returning. Last year, we didn’t have many seniors. The core of our team is back, and they remember that early exit. We are ready to get back out there.”

With a heavy group of contributors returning this winter, there is a lot of optimism that the girls will have similar success to that which they experienced prior to the first-round exit. That team featured a combination of stout defense with timely scoring that few opponents were able to solve.

Offensively, the Lady Mustangs were led by McKenna Moran, who will play soccer at the University of Missouri a year from now. Still, before she heads north to Columbus, she will look to build on a season in which she tallied 27 of the team’s 97 goals. She is one of several players that Coach Campbell believes are primed for a big year.

“McKenna (Moran) is looking better than ever,” Coach Campbell said. “She is somebody that all of our opponents are going to be keying on. All the girls around her are going to have that responsibility of stepping up. I think they are ready to do that. We have players that have the capability to do what she does, and they are looking forward to the opportunity.”

In addition to the return of Moran, Raeya Carthon is also back after netting 14 goals last year. Cate Tempelmeyer will also look to take a big step this season after putting in eight goals as junior.

Still, Sachse’s ability to score was not the top concern for opposing teams a season ago. The Lady Mustangs fielded one of the more stingy defenses in the area, limiting opponents to just 24 goals in 25 contests.

That isn’t likely to change moving forward, as Sachse returns the bulk of their talent from the back line. However, Sachse’s one player to graduate from that bunch was last year’s District 9-6A Defensive Player of the Year.

“The one player we lost from our defense was Bailey Malone,” she said. “She was our senior captain. She was the heart of the team last year. She left everything on the field every time she was out there and made the girls around her do the same.”

“Other than her, we have a ton of experience,” she added. “Our defense is the most seasoned part of our lineup. There is a lot of depth at those spots, and they know what I expected of them on that side of the field. They are ready to hold their own.”

With that much talent returning, it makes sense that the expectations are high entering the season. Still, Coach Campbell is not interested in their success from a year ago. She is preaching a simple mindset of focusing on one game at a time.

“We definitely have a long season ahead of us,” she said. “We have to focus on what is in front of us. We are still trying to figure out what girls work well together, and which formations best suit us. We are taking our time doing all that so we can be ready for the postseason when it gets here. That is where our focus is right now.”

The girls will open their season this week in Wylie for a three-day event that will feature some of the top teams in the area, including Class 6A’s top-ranked Wylie East. The girls take the field on Thursday, Jan. 4 against Plano Senior High at 5:20 p.m.

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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