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Strong start: North girls soccer rolling along
BY Richard C. White, email@example.com
While some other area teams may be dealing with a slew of serious early-season injuries and losses, all things considered, McKinney North girls soccer head coach Lance Lovell says his team is doing just fine.
"I think we're doing pretty well," Lovell said. "So far so good. We're battling through a few nagging injuries right now, but nothing major."
The Lady Bulldogs (6-1-3) are off to a hot start with only one loss in their first 10 games, dropping a 2-0 contest Tuesday night to their cross-town rival, the McKinney Lionettes.
"What I like so far that I was worried about at the very beginning is where we're at defensively, not only as a team but also for our defenders, but they really pulled it together," he said. "We're playing really well in the back."
One area of concern for the Lady Bulldogs is their midfield.
"We're still working on the midfield," Lovell said. "We need them to do more for us, but we have time. It is though an area of concern for me. I need them to be more attacking-minded, but we're not there yet."
Lovell is most pleased with his team's intangibles.
"That's the best thing about this team," he said. "This team has always been about intensity and heart. A determination to never want to lose is definitely deep down within them. The camaraderie and friendships they have are coming along very well as well."
The Lady Bulldogs are led by senior team captains Mikey Mendiola and Jackie Bucy.
"I'm really proud of Jackie and Mikey, my captains for the team," Lovell said. "Jackie in particular had a season-ending injury last year and has come storming back from that with a renewed passion and desire to want to be the best she can be. She leads by example."
North's goalie, Clarissa Ledesma, has also made her presence known with strong consistent play this season.
"Another area that I'm extremely pleased with is at goal keeper," Lovell said. "Clarissa has come in this year with an awesome attitude and has really taken the position and ran with it."
As for the forward position, junior Belicia Mendiola has played a key part in the Lady Bulldogs' offensive success.
"She's not only done well, but I do expect a lot out of Belicia," Lovell said. "She's one of our top scoring threats. She scored nine goals in our first seven games. She's creating all kinds of havoc for any defense that she plays against."
Rounding out North's various strengths are senior defenders Keirsyn McDaniel and Mary Watson.
"They're basically the stalwarts in the back, they're the rocks back there," Lovell said. "If I didn't have them back there playing together, it would be a completely different story as far as our consistency is concerned."
As for the team's season goals, those have yet to change from the program standard the Lady Bulldogs have built, as they aim for their sixth straight postseason berth.
"We should be at the top of our district," Lovell said. "That's what I'm expecting. I expect us to go into district play healthy and prepared to get ourselves ready and prepared for the playoffs. It's one of those things that goes without saying, that playoffs is the expectation."
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