Boys soccer to finish tournament play, looks ahead to district


Courtesy of Joan Lange

Junior Benji Merrick looks to make a pass to Junior Caleb Toomey against the McKinney Lions on Friday, Jan 12. The Leopards would fall to the Lions 2-0.

Joe Vastano, Staff Writer

After a long game in the bitter cold, the boys soccer team (3-1-2) couldn’t seem to put the ball in the back of the net. The Leopards were down a goal to Irving High School, as precious seconds ticked away on the game clock. Senior Grant Lange threw the ball across the field to senior Gavin George, who fired away in the final seconds of the game, tying up the team’s final game of last weekend’s Allen showcase. The team finished the tournament with a 1-1-1 record.

Senior captain Bretton Laboret said the Allen tournament benefitted the team by providing early exposure to challenging opponents.

“The Allen tournament was beneficial, as it allowed for the team to continue to become comfortable playing together while also giving us good pre-season exposure to some tough teams,” Laboret said.

The Leopards won in their first game of the tournament against Hillcrest by a score of 4-1. The goals were provided by junior Benji Merrick with two, junior Caleb Toomey, and senior Kishan Vasal. The team dropped its next game to McKinney 2-1, and then finished up the tournament with the aforementioned tie to Irving.

Assistant coach Ian Keeble said that playing 6A opponents offers opportunities for the team to build confidence early in the season.

In early games, it’s all about the boys learning to play together and building some team spirit,” Keeble said. “While we did those things, we played well, picked up some nice wins, and were tested by several 6A schools that will end up in the playoffs,”

Senior Enrique Vega said the team has been doing a variety of things to prepare for the upcoming district season, which will begin on Jan. 30.

“So far we have played in two pre-season tournaments,” Vega said. “We have been practicing every morning and don’t have another game until district starts because we had to cancel one due to weather.”

With a full two weeks to prepare, the Leopards will have plenty of time to get ready for their first district contest of the season against rival Highland Park next Tuesday, Jan. 23 on their home turf.