Posted by : February 15, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
EUSTACE–The Eustace Lady Bulldogs ended their season on a winning note, defeating the visiting Mildred Lady Eagles 46-42 on senior night.
It was a last hurrah for seniors Taylor Peebles, Grace Holcombe, Carly Copeland and Karen Cawthon, who combined for 14 points on the night.
The game was neck-and neck throughout the first quarter. Mildred took a 2-0 edge on its first possession and held onto the lead until the quarter’s final minute when Hana Abuhatab drilled a three-pointer to give the Lady Bulldogs a 12-10 advantage. Mildred tied the score 12-12 to end the quarter.
Mildred came out of the gate in the second quarter strong, building a 17-13 lead until Eustace went on a 11-2 run, including a three-pointer by Cawthon to secure a 25-21 lead at the end of the first half.
The third quarter was a battle of wills, as the game saw three ties and three lead changes. When the dust settled, the Lady Bulldogs led by one-point, 30-29.
The fourth quarter was just as exciting, with three ties and two lead changes. Eustace led most of the way, until Mildred hit a pair of free throws, followed by a two point shot to take a 41-40 lead. Another Mildred free throw put them up by two points, but Peebles tied the game up, 42-42, with a basket of her own. It was all Eustace from then on, as Kelsey Contreras iced the game with two free throws in the final seconds to take the 46-42 victory.
Meagan Sawyer and Peebles led Eustace in scoring with nine points each. Zoie Bailey and Gabi Corder had seven points each, Abuhatab and Cawthon scored three each and Holcombe and Contreras had two each.
The Lady Bulldogs finish the season with 7-19 record.
Posted by : February 12, 2015| On :
Field talented team of competitors
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
MABANK– Expectations are high for the Mabank Lady Panthers soccer team after back-to-back highly successful seasons, advancing to the Regional Quarterfinal and Regional Semifinal rounds of the Texas UIL playoffs.
Mabank entered the 2014-15 season ranked sixth in Texas, but thus far has struggled to regain its previous form. Some of the struggles may come from a shortage of time for first year Head Coach Mari Miller to prepare.
Miller was hired shortly before school started when the athletic department looked inward to fill the role. Miller is a passionate advocate of soccer, has coached several teams of younger players and even participates in the Cedar Creek Adult Soccer League.
Former Athletic Director Jared Wingfield said several coaches with high school experience made verbal agreements to fill the position last spring and summer after former Head Coach Matt Lemoine left to work for Liverpool FC America. Unfortunately for Mabank, each of the candidates backed out to take other offers. This left Mabank in a bind and Miller, a 2003 Mabank graduate that is employed in the administration office as a curriculum director, agreed to shoulder the burden.
Miller says she “loves her job” as the Mabank High School girls soccer coach and is confident that the Lady Panthers are just hitting some speed bumps.
“We are not playing to our potential right now, but we are learning new field formations to help control the ball,” Miller said. “They are getting used to my system and that takes some time.”
Miller also said that the team won’t be at full strength until basketball season ends.
“We’ve got four girls that will be joining us for games when basketball is finished,” she said. “The addition of Madison and Meagan Holyfield, Carson Marsh and Brittni Anthony will help us tremendously. They give us the extra substitutions and a new burst of energy. Adding four new players will change our entire make up. We are all looking forward to it.”
The Lady Panthers ended the preseason with a 4-7 record and played their first District 15 game Tuesday night at Kaufman High School.
Mabank will count on team captains Kaylee Creagh and Bailey Swain to lead them this year. Swain signed a letter of intent to play soccer in college at Sam Houston State last week.
Posted by : February 8, 2015| On :
Large senior class leads Mabank on the field
By Erik Walsh
MABANK–The Mabank Panthers boys soccer program has been building up to its current success for years. Longtime Head Coach Weldon Killingsworth has seen it grow from a handful of boys with just one varsity team to now include a JV team and 40 plus players.
“Soccer is really growing in Texas and in Mabank,” Killingsworth said. “The exposure from television and the World Cup always helps. We’ve got a young group in sixth and seventh grade coming up as well.”
The evidence of soccer’s growing popularity shows with the numbers in the local recreational league Tri-County Soccer. Today, 670 children and students are registered to play with them. In 1989, just 200 were enrolled.
“Now we have students that play soccer year-round,” Killingsworth said. “About 25 in the program play Tri-County Soccer, and that gives us a big leg-up against the competition because they get more practice and touches with the soccer ball. Being comfortable with the ball at their feet is important.”
Other recent improvements in the soccer program have allowed Mabank students to work out and hone their skills as an official school function during the off-season and summer months.
“Soccer used to be strictly an after school activity once the season began,” he said. “Today we can include the sport in our athletic period during the school week and it helps to keep the athletes ready to play. The administration has grown the program here tremendously.”
Most of Mabank’s top players and leaders are upper classman. Key players are seniors Israel Gutierrez and Jose Gallegos. Other seniors include Hugo Aguilar, Mason Fry, Sergio Gallegos, Steven Gallegos, Carlos Olivares and Josh Templeton.
Currently Mabank’s record stands a few games under .500 after Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win against Crandall. Coach Killingsworth thinks a relatively weak remaining schedule will get the Panthers back to the break-even mark before district play begins Feb. 13.
Just four teams compete in The Panthers’ soccer district. Mabank will face Athens, Gladewater and Chapel Hill three times each to vie for the District 15 title
“The boys have been playing hard,” Killingsworth said. “We went 1-3 in the Athens tournament, but we played fairly well. I tell the boys that the object of non-district is to get better every day and to make sure by the time district gets around that we are good to go. We are getting close. There has been a lot of buy in from the kids this year and they worked very hard in the off season to train.”