By JASON JUMP
KYLE – Hays High School girl’s soccer coach Dorothy Ortiz enters her third year at the helm of the Lady Rebels program with several returning starters back as well. HHS went 17-1-2 last year with a perfect 14-0 record in district play, but the Lady Rebels fell short in the opening round of the playoffs. Ortiz wants to see an improvement in that area this season.
“We want to win our first playoff game this season, and make it further than any other team in the history of HHS,” the two-time district Coach of the Year said. “If we stay committed, work hard, persevere and keep it fun we have what it takes to reach our goals this season.”
Senior Bailey Holmes is one of the top-returning starters for HHS offensively. Holmes was a first-team All-District selection last season as a midfielder. This year she will move to the forward position in an effort to help the Lady Rebels put more points on the board.
Ashlee Briggerman returns to the Lady Rebels program this season after sitting out in 2006-07. She has already verbally committed to the University of Houston and the senior will be looked on to provide most of the offensive output this season.
Arielle Timmons will also start at the forward position this season and Nessa Martinez and Miriam Padron should also see plenty of action off the bench. Martinez is a junior transfer from New Braunfels Canyon High School.
“These athletes bring experience, talent and speed,” Ortiz said. “They all work very well with our midfield and their combination play is hard to stop.”
Samantha Gonzalez, Lena New, Kelsey Schnautz and Jordan Herselma will start at midfield this season. Gonzalez is just a sophomore but is already receiving the attention of several programs at the next level.
“Our midfield will be strong with the leadership of Samantha Gonzalez,” Ortiz said of her super sophomore. “Lena New is a freshman newcomer, but she is working hard to fill that position. She is continually improving and doing a great job so far. Kelsey (Schnautz) and Jordan (Herselma) are returners from last year. They have stepped up their level of play and will be key players in our midfield.”
Ortiz said she will also look for Abby Wilkerson to provide some depth this season.
The defense begins and ends with starting goalie Danielle Snyder. The junior is coming off a second-team All-District selection last year and is the leader of the Lady Rebels defense according to Ortiz.
“She is intelligent and works hard,” the Lady Rebels skipper said. “Last year she was a big part of our defensive success. Our team only allowed two goals to be scored on us during district play.”
Brittany Wallace, a starting fullback, is also the team’s backup goalie, but Ortiz said Snyder are the bread and butter and HHS will rely on her the majority of the time this season. Wallace is a returning senior, who is garnering attention from the University of Texas-Dallas as well as Southwestern. She was a first-team All-District selection as a junior and will be another key piece of the puzzle to holding opposing offenses in check this season.
She will be joined by Katy Kanetzky and Katy Mendoza in the starting lineup. Jessica Crockett and Courtney Torres will be counted on to provide depth defensively this season.
Amanda Olivo is the team’s starting sweeper, with Briggerman also seeing some action in the defensive backfield this season.
“Amanda (Oliva) and Ashlee (Briggerman) are fearless and strong players,” Ortiz said. “Amanda is a returner in this position and brings several years of varsity experience. Both players bring a wealth of knowledge and a high level of play.”
The Lady Rebels opened the 2008 season with a first-place finish in the Adam King Bronco Soccer Tournament in Denton over the weekend. Hays High scored wins over host Denton High School, as well as, Sachse High School. The Lady Rebels also tied Plano High School and Midlothian High School during the course of the two-day event. Briggerman was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Ortiz said this tournament victory has given her squad a lot of confidence staring down the rest of the 2008 schedule.
HHS is again the team to beat in district play this season, but Ortiz said the Lady Rebels will not be able to overlook Hendrickson High School again this year. Hendrickson returns almost its entire squad from last season, according to Ortiz, and HHS was the Lady Rebels’ toughest district competition in 2007. Ortiz said if her Lady Rebels can find a way to get past the first two playoff games there is no telling what kind of post-season damage this team is capable of in 2008.
“If we can win these two games we will have achieved some big goals,” she said. “I feel that it will give us the confidence to go even further in the playoffs.”Email | Print