Westlake leads District, takes on Lake Travis

Alan Ancira

2/29/2016 – Westlake beats Bowie 4-0
3/8/2016 – Westlake will take on Lake Travis at home

After a thrilling 2015 season ending with a heartbreaking loss deep in playoffs, the girls soccer team looks to build momentum as they approach this year’s playoffs. They are currently leading the District followed by Lake Travis, whom Westlake beat 4-0 at Lake Travis. This year has proven to be very different from last year. With new head coach Jacob Stern and the loss of some key seniors, the soccer team looked to start the season with a fresh lineup.

“The change in coaches has created a clean sheet of sorts,” senior Suzanne Lightsey said. “We were able to evaluate all the players equally, try people in new positions and even play a new formation.”

The girls feel like they have created a strong bond throughout the season and that the change in head coach has created a different atmosphere where they enjoy playing the sport they love.

“Coach Stern is a little less intense than Coach [Rene] Rebe was, but it’s working out for us,” captain senior Olivia Norman said. “We have a new formation this year, which is working really well for us, and the team is closer this year than last.”

With the loss of last year’s seniors, the girls have seen some new players step up to fill the empty spaces.

“We have two new varsity members, Katie Kenney, junior, and Ally Huang, freshman, who have both really stepped it up in new positions and proven themselves vital to the varsity team,” Suzanne said.

“I’ve definitely seen a lot of players step up to the varsity challenge.” Captain senior Hailey Bishop said. ”We only had 6 returning starters, the rest were players who barely played last year on varsity or were on JV last year.”

This year, the team is sporting a new back line, with Suzanne, Katie, senior Mallory Harkins and junior Babo Fagerberg.

“We have almost a completely new back line this year,” Olivia said. “But the girls have been really solid, and we all feel safe with them in the defense.”

“Mallory Harkins had been playing forward before this year, and was moved to our starting center back,” Hailey said. “She’s done a phenomenal job, and her, as well as the rest of the back line have only conceded 1 goal in District.”

The team has won 57 straight District games dating back to 2010. This year’s seniors have never lost a District game and look forward to finishing off their streak.

“As a senior, this year has been really exciting because we are trying to go all four years undefeated in District,” Olivia said. “The seniors last year were able to accomplish that, and we are really striving for that also.”