Senior-laden Lady Pirates hoping for deep run
The Granbury Lady Pirate soccer team began their 2020 campaign with 14 seniors listed on a roster of 23 players.
Is there any added pressure to succeed in the last year of these players’ careers?
“There’s always pressure, head coach David Winkleman said. “These girls are super competitive. They just want to win.
“They wanted to win when they were freshmen.”
They’ve done plenty of winning – the past four years have brought no small amount of success to Lady Pirate soccer, which is coming off a 7-4-3 season in District 5-5A and a second-round playoff loss to Grapevine. Winkleman attributed that success to the character of the senior class.
“They’re phenomenal players, great attitudes, and they play at a really high level,” he said. “They’re really great girls, and they play hard.”
Captains Reagan Brown, Morgan Tatum and Laynee Pence were captains last year as well.
“Those girls probably could’ve been captains their sophomore year,” Winkleman said.
The Lady Pirates also return the district offensive MVP Miriam Espinoza, along with starting keeper Macie Blohowiak. Sophomore Malakye Harris has locked down a starting center back position, and junior Caylin Damron has proven to be a more-than-capable backup to Blohowiak in goal.
Winkleman is switching up his formation slightly this year, hoping to create a stronger link between the two strikers up top and trying to solidify the midfield. Granbury is also maintaining a focus on pressure defense from all 10 outfield players, from the strikers to the fullbacks.
Winkleman said there are still improvements that need to be made, especially on the offensive end.
“I think we need to finish better,” he said. “Especially in the (tournament) final, we had lots of chances, good chances, and we need to finish those to put ourselves in a better position.”
The district race will be tough as always. Winkleman said all the usual suspects – Mansfield Legacy, Burleson and Crowley – return strong classes as well.
If Granbury can earn a playoff berth, they’ll enter the postseason without any scar tissue. Winkleman said he’s never had to bring up the playoff loss against Grapevine that ended last season.
“We talk about process, and taking care of business and what we need to do,” he said. “I don’t want to get ahead of what we need to do for district.
“Lots of girls, the young players are learning from the old players. The seniors have good leadership.”
Granbury will start its District 5-5A season on Jan. 24 at Mansfield Timberview.
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