Tompkins High School, girls soccer, Falcons, Katy ISD


Falcons stronger, bigger after tough state title loss

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 1/13/20

Tompkins made it to the Class 6A girls soccer state tournament championship for the second time in three years last season. That was good.

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Tompkins High School, girls soccer, Falcons, Katy ISD


Falcons stronger, bigger after tough state title loss


Tompkins made it to the Class 6A girls soccer state tournament championship for the second time in three years last season. That was good.

The bad, however, was the Falcons had to live all offseason with the stinging taste from another bitter defeat in the campaign’s penultimate game. Last season’s loss, a 5-0 setback to a physically intimidating Southlake Carroll team, was particularly harsh.

So, during the summer and offseason, coach Jarrett Shipman stressed “intrinsic motivation” to his players. He made known its importance.

Shipman incorporated more weight-room work into training. He provided a workout plan. He and assistant coach Austin Bridger helped perfect players’ form lifting weights.

Other than that, it was up to the players how much time and effort they put in.

“After last year, we knew the weight room would be a key asset to our success, so we gave the girls ownership and responsibility over that aspect,” Shipman said. “They decided to work hard, and they embraced the challenge to improve.”

It’s showed. The Falcons may not have all the firepower they had last season—former star striker Barbara Olivieri would have been a senior this season, but she graduated early to get a head start competing for Texas A&M—but they still boast a wealth of talent.

More importantly, they are physically stronger and bigger. It was obvious during Tompkins’ 1-0 Falcon bracket championship game win over McAllen High in the I-10 Shootout on Jan. 11. The Falcons were quicker to balls and stronger with possession, boxing out opponents aggressively around the net and showing a distinct edge in physicality against a perennial Region IV power.

“We’ve worked so hard in the weight room, like we never have before, after getting beat down 5-0 in the state final,” Shipman said. “Those girls were monsters. We busted our butt in the weight room, and I’m so proud of them.

“Every time we’ve come away with defeat, we’ve learned something from it. These seniors know what it takes, and we know how special it is to get to state and we’re not taking it for granted. So, right now, they’re focused on doing the little things. We’re doing those things that we need to be successful as a team, and hopefully it all comes together.”

Three of those seniors—Skylar Parker, Lauryn Wild and Terin Graham— were freshmen on varsity when the Falcons went to state for the first time in 2017. Since then, they’ve been significant contributors in a program that has made it to the regional finals each of the last three seasons.

Without Olivieri, who departed as the Falcons’ all-time leader in points, the Falcons are more diverse going about their attack. Through the first six games of the season, seven different players had scored. Tompkins had assisted on 13 of its 15 goals.

Parker leads the team with 13 points (six goals, one assist). Junior Felicia Hernandez and Graham each have five, and Wild and senior Sofia Wolf each have four.

Parker is the Falcons’ all-time leader in goals with 60. She is one of many Falcons who arrived this season in great shape. Parker worked hard during the offseason on ball control and lost weight from, in her own words, “a rough year.”

She said she had a better mindset and mentality coming into this season.

“I want to go to state, I want to win, I want that first-place trophy,” Parker said. “I want to be able to say that Tompkins is the best team in the state, and possibly the best in the nation. That’s my goal. Win as a team, have fun and play as a family.”

Parker said she does not like to look at herself as the Falcons’ go-to player. She credits teammates for her success. Still, there is no debating she will be marked heavily by opposing defenses.

“Skylar’s in phenomenal shape,” Shipman said. “She’s got some wheels and she’s worked hard all summer. She realizes she’s a goal-scorer too, and she’s going to have to score. We had the conversation in the offseason, ‘Sky, we’re not trying to put all the pressure on you, but you’re kind of the scorer on this team now, and we’re going to have to play through you.’ She’s doing a phenomenal job.”

Shipman knows Parker will be there. It’s up to others to step up. So far, players like senior Jules Haro, Hernandez and Wolf, alongside stalwarts Wild and Graham, have.

Graham said the team’s passes are better. Players are making harder, better runs because they know the ball will find them.

“Last year was a lot of ‘Do it yourself and see what you can take on,’” Graham said. “This year, it’s about who’s open, who we can find with the ball.”

“We know it has to be more of a team effort instead of an individual doing all the work,” Graham added. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on teamwork, chemistry and working together. We’ve been together so long, and we’re a really tight unit in school, out of school, on the field, off the field. We’ve put a lot into our relationships and that’s really helped on the field.”


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