The Dallas Morning News
Repeats among elements in play
Regional soccer tournaments kick off across the state Friday morning. A look at five storylines to keep an eye on in the Dallas area:
Beware of the Texans
Two years ago in the 6A state title game, Arlington Sam Houston fell in overtime to Jesuit. Jose Ortiz was only a freshman at the time, but he set the school season record for goals with 32. He broke that record his sophomore season, and he did it again this year as a junior. Ortiz had 49 goals in the regular season; he has 59 entering this weekend’s regional tournament.
With Ortiz and Nate Kopetsky, who has 22 assists, Sam Houston could not only make it back to the state title game but also win it.
A dominant district
It’s no secret that Frisco produces some of the best soccer teams in the state. Last year, Frisco Wakeland put an exclamation point on that statement, becoming the first UIL school since 1985 to win the boys and girls titles in the same year.
State tournament appearances have become routine for the district, and this year could be more of the same. The district’s boys teams could guarantee a state semifinalist if Frisco Wakeland beats Jacksonville and Frisco Heritage tops Mount Pleasant in Friday’s 5A Region II semifinals. The district only has Frisco Independence on the girls side, but the Knights, at 2111, have proved they can play with the best. Independence will face Mount Pleasant at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Carrollton’s Standridge Stadium.
Chasing another ring
Speaking of Frisco, the Wakeland boys have the chance to do something that hasn’t been done since the early ’90s: win three straight state championships. Plano was the last to do it, winning the title from 199193 in the UIL’S “all schools” classification. Wakeland, the 44thranked team in the country according to Top Drawer Soccer, is more than capable of repeat
ing again. The Wolverines returned two members of last year’s allstatetournament team, including tournament MVP Marc Borbonus, a junior forward.
The Midlothian Heritage girls can also repeat as 4A champions. Three of the team’s four allstatetournament team honorees from last year returned: junior goalkeeper Megan Mccarthy, sophomore midfielder Kylar Kenter and sophomore forward Rachel Allen, last year’s tournament MVP. Heritage will play Longview Spring Hill at 4 p.m. Friday at Tyler’s Rose Stadium.
The Frisco Wakeland girls also would be on the hunt to repeat if it wasn’t for Highland Park, which beat Wakeland 21 in the regional quarterfinals last Friday.
Two years ago, Highland Park beat Wakeland before going on to win the 5A state title. Last year, Wakeland downed Highland Park before winning the state title. Could Highland Park make it three years in a row that the state champion has emerged from that matchup?
If it does, Texas pledge Presley Echols will be a major reason. She scored her 41st goal of the season in the victory over Wakeland. Highland Park will take on North Forney at 10 a.m. Friday at Standridge Stadium.
Unranked to state?
Sachse and Grand Prairie finished the regular season outside The News’ Class 6A top10 boys teams. However, they are still alive heading into the regional semifinals, something seven of The News’ top 10 can’t say.
Both Sachse (2024) and Grand Prairie (2033) had regularseason résumés worthy of top10 consideration, but it’s what they’ve done in the postseason that has made their seasons memorable. Sachse took down Mckinney Boyd, Mckinney and Longview to get here. Grand Prairie beat Coppell and Flower Mound Marcus — both of which were ranked in the The News’ final rankings — the last two weeks.