Boys soccer season ends in close defeat


Matt Bolden

The boys’ soccer team huddles before a game. The leopards went 9-12-1 on the season.

The Leopard boys soccer team hung up their cleats this past Friday losing 1-0 against the No. 1 ranked team in the state, Frisco Lone Star, in the first round of the playoffs.

“I think that coming into the game we knew that we were going to have to work very hard as Lone Star was very high ranked,” junior goalie Noah Nguyen said. “We had to work hard defensively to keep up with their constant attack, and while we didn’t get the best result, I’m proud of our team because of how hard they worked, considering the team we were going against.”

The team ended 9-12-1 overall and 7-7 in district on the season.

“Overall the season didn’t go as we wanted it to,” senior Michael Beaney said. “We were hoping to be at the top of the district, but the team was very close and every practice and game we had fun playing with each other and enjoyed every moment.”

The Lonestar game was a hard fought battle against a Ranger team that went into the game with a 17-1-3 record.

“We believe here at Lovejoy that we can compete with anyone at any time; it’s in our DNA,” head coach Alex Duran said. “I knew the boys wouldn’t be ruffled by playing a top seed. We were prepared.”

For Lone Star, senior JJ Hernandez had the only goal of the game. For the LLeopards, Nguyen prevented any more possible Ranger goals with 11 saves.

“I thought the team played really well,” Beaney said. “We played our hearts out and unfortunately they scored a goal.”

The team will retain 14 of the 22 players on the roster.

“Some bright spots were seeing some of the younger players step up,” Duran said. “For many it was their first time on varsity and now having this playoff experience will help fuel them for years to come.”

As the team moves forward, they look to rely on their experience for the 2022-2023 season as most players on the team will have already had a taste of the varsity level.

“For this group the majority of them it was their first taste of varsity soccer,” Duran said. “Coming off of the loss to Lone Star, I could see the hunger and excitement these young men have knowing the majority of our team will be back next year. It was a great thing to hear and see.”

As the seven seniors head for graduation, the returning players have their sights set high for next season.

“Our team is looking strong going into next season as some of our younger players are continuing to grow and develop,” Nguyen said. “Our district is changing and I think that we should be a top three team in our district next year. It’s unfortunate to see the season come to an end, but I’m proud of all of our players for fighting till the end. I’m looking forward to a good season next year.”