Katy High School, Tigers, Texas high school girls soccer, Katy ISD

‘Underdog’ Tigers ready to prove doubters wrong

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 1/20/20

While the Katy Tigers girls’ soccer team graduated 11 seniors and eight starters from last year’s squad, the three captains this season—junior midfielder Yamila Lara, and senior defenders Grace Hunter and Alison Spavale—are vocal about wanting to surprise the district.

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Katy High School, Tigers, Texas high school girls soccer, Katy ISD

‘Underdog’ Tigers ready to prove doubters wrong

Posted

While the Katy Tigers girls’ soccer team graduated 11 seniors and eight starters from last year’s squad, the three captains this season—junior midfielder Yamila Lara, and senior defenders Grace Hunter and Alison Spavale—are vocal about wanting to surprise the district.

Katy opens District 19-6A play on Friday, Jan. 24, against Cinco Ranch.

“We want to prove some people wrong,” Lara said. “We’re kind of the underdogs of our district, and a lot of people don’t know the capability of our talent. If we just play to our abilities, we can prove a lot of people wrong.”

Hunter added, “It would make this season super fun and exciting to just come in and wreck other teams, because they don’t expect it.”

To do that, though, Katy coach Dianne Loftin said they’re still working on finding the right roles and positions for players.

“We’re just super young and trying to get organized,” Loftin said. “The girls are playing well. They’re young, and we’ve got players in the wrong positions, trying to learn. I’m super proud of them, though. They’re a hard-working group.”

The Tigers finished 3-5-2 last year in district play, qualifying for the playoffs. They lost 1-0 to Ridge Point in the bi-district round of the postseason. However, they’ve started this year impressively, winning their bracket of the prestigious I-10 Shootout tournament with a 2-0 victory over Houston Heights on Jan. 11.

One area to watch for the Tigers will be goalkeeping. Sophomore Sarah Pattillo has the potential, and the size, to be one of the better keepers in the district.

“She’s a six-foot 14-year-old, so she’s kind of gangly but she’s starting to come into her own,” Loftin said. “Height is a huge advantage in goal, and she’s growing into the height. She works real hard for us and she takes lessons, and she wants to play at the next level.”

The team’s captains said they’ve been happy with the work ethic of the squad so far, noting that, up and down the roster, players have been putting in the work.

“Everyone showed up at (summer) camp and gave it their all throughout preseason,” Spavale said. “It’s not just us that’s being leaders, it’s everyone.”

Hunter and Lara stressed that while they’re captains, accountability is preached by everyone in practice, in order to fill the experience that graduated from last year’s team.

“Honestly, it just took leadership from the team,” Lara said. “Not just captain-wise, but everybody stepped up into those roles and took care of what we came back to, and to help out the new people.”

Hunter said, “Our offense is a lot stronger this year. Our defense and our offense are both stronger, and it’s starting to come together and we’re working together and using both sides.”

Lara added, “We all trust each other to take care of business.”

A team goal, according to Hunter, is to play strong from start to finish—at the micro level, in individual games, and across the season-long schedule. Heading into last year’s playoffs, the Tigers had a five-game winless streak and only scored three goals in that span.

“A team goal would be to start strong this season, and to finish strong,” Hunter said. “We need to work hard the entire season and not get comfortable.”

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