Girls Soccer: Sachse hopes taking the next step lands them at state tournament
Few girls soccer teams can match Sachse's postseason success in the last few years.
The Mustangs have advanced at least three rounds deep in each of the last three seasons. The last two campaigns have ended at the Class 5A Region II Tournament, where last year they felt they could nearly reach out and touch Georgetown before dropping a 1-0 decision to Klein Oak in the regional championship game.
Sachse once again has high expectations for the 2013 season, but they are staying realistic early on, as a small group of veterans is joined by a number of talented, but untested faces.
"The main focus (early) is really getting the girls on the field together, them learning how each other plays and finding ways to be successful," Sachse head coach Kristen Campbell said. "We are trying different things, working out some kinks and figuring out which girls play the best together."
The Mustangs are led by a pair of seniors who will be playing at the collegiate level.
Natalie Calhoun, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma State, is a three-year starting defender who was a first-team all-district selection a year ago.
Tori Hendrickson, a Eastern New Mexico State University commitment, is a two-year starting defender.
Campbell said the team not only looks to the pair to be leaders protecting the goal, but as mentors off the field, as well.
Junior Chelsea Followwell is a crafty, tenacious player that is a sparkplug in the team's offense. The first-team all-district midfielder had 17 goals and seven assists last season.
With that trio providing a majority of the experience, Campbell said she could not have asked for any more from that group.
"These girls are three of our most competitive players and they always put the team first," she said."
There are a number of new players stepping into key roles, but a couple in particular have jumped out during the first weeks of the season.
Freshman Cyera Hintzen has already established herself as the team's top forward. She combines an aggresive style with a good touch and has already provided some highlight-reel goals.
Another freshman, Kayla McKeon, has joined Followwell in the midfield and the two have developed instant chemistry to give the Mustangs stability in the middle.
Sachse is experiencing the type of growing pains it might have expected, mixing in some strong performances with a couple of big losses in the opening weeks.
But the Mustangs, who were only 13-9 in the regular season while finishing third in district last year before making their long run, know they will only continue to improve and they once again expect to be a force at season's end.
"We of course want to win district. I know none of the girls on the team have accomplished that yet," Campbell said. "I know the girls always are striving to do better than last season. That is the ultimate goal that we always want to accomplish."
Sachse will play its final non-district match at Allen on Tuesday before the start of the 11-5A season against North Garland on Friday at 6 p.m. at Williams Stadium.