Can MISD sweep soccer districts again?

Defending 4A girls’ state champion HHS starts new season with great expectations

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Heritage's girls' soccer team celebrates as head coach Gerald Slovacek raises the trophy following a playoff win over Argyle last April. The defending Class 4A state champions begin their run at a repeat performance.

Coming off their second state girls’ soccer championship in four seasons, excitement is high for the Heritage Jaguars as a new season finally gets underway.

Last April, the Jags rolled into Georgetown and routed Corpus Christi Calallen, 6-0, in the Class 4A girls’ title game largely on the strength of a hat trick by then-freshman Jules Burrows. Kerry Scott, Rachel Allen and Sydney Dickson added goals in the rout.

Head coach Gerald Slovacek’s Jags will miss Allen, who graduated after earning Ellis County High School Sports Award girls’ soccer Player of the Year honors, along with four other seniors. But just about everyone else is back for HHS as they eye another state championship run.

On the season Heritage finished with a 27-1 record, will 141 goals scored for the year and only 11 total conceded.

After a series of preseason scrimmages, HHS — the preseason No. 1 team in the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Class 4A girls’ poll — officially opens the new season on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against Aledo in the Highway 287 Tournament.

A solid core of seniors will lead the charge for the Jags. Logan Berumen led the team with 24 goals last season before suffering a knee injury in a 1-0 state semifinal win over Celina, and Berumen is back for her senior season. Brynn Pollock also had a strong junior year with 17 goals and 22 assists, and Dickson had 14 goals and 10 assists.

Underclassmen will contribute once again, led by junior Scott, who had 10 goals and 17 assists last season, and Burrows, who finished with 10 goals and 2 assists.

Sophomore Tanner Sorensen shared time in goal last season and will be taking over full-time duties. A defensive group led by juniors Joely Godfrey and Ella Brown and sophomores Maddie Berumen and Paisley Mabra expects once again to be hard to solve by opposing teams.

MHS girls

The Midlothian Lady Panthers got their new year started on Monday with a road game at Terrell.

The Lady Panthers had a successful season last year, but had the misfortune of drawing Class 5A No. 1-ranked Highland Park in the Class 5A Region II quarterfinals, suffering a 2-0 loss.

The Lady Panthers finished the season 16-4-5 overall, winning their second district championship in a row. But a lot of their scoring punch graduated, including leading goal-scorer Allyson Gibbs, who finished with 15 on the year.

The trio of freshman Kennedy Husbands, and sophomores Brooklyn Piper and Addi Ball will step in to fill the void offensively. Husbands and Piper each scored six goals last season, and Ball added five. Other top returnees include senior Nevaeh Higgins, and juniors Taylor Thibodeau and Emma Best.

Senior Landry Combs returns between the pipes. Combs last season posted 14 clean sheets and was 2-for-2 on saving penalty kicks.

The Lady Panthers will play this weekend in the Highland Park Tournament. They will face Cedar Park at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Rockwall at 11:40 a.m. on Friday and Plano East at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

MHS boys

The Midlothian Panthers also opened the 2022 season on Monday night at Terrell.

The Panthers made it a three-peat as district champions last winter with a record of 14-8-3, but the season ended in disappointment in a 1-0 area-round loss to Nacogdoches.

Nathan Wagner returns for his senior season after earning Ellis County High School Sports Awards honors. Also returning are seniors Jeremy Cundiff and Aiden Williams, and juniors Joshua Forbes and Connor Rodgers. Williams is the Panthers’ top returning points contributor, with eight goals and nine assists last season.

Senior Caden Hyndman shared time in goal last season and finished with five shutouts on the year.

Head coach Austin Guest’s Panthers will compete in the Highland Park Tournament this weekend. They will take on Carrollton Turner at 3:20 p.m. on Thursday, Carrollton Newman Smith at 3:20 p.m. on Friday and Dallas Conrad at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. They will also host Mansfield Timberview at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday.

HHS boys

The Jag boys’ soccer team went 15-3-2 overall and advanced to the 4A Region I quarterfinals last season after doing their part to make Midlothian ISD 4-for-4 in district soccer championships in 2021.

The Jags will begin the new year on Thursday with a match against Fort Worth South Hills at 10:30 a.m. in the Castleberry Tournament.

HHS is looking to reload after the loss of a large number of seniors to graduation, including Ellis County HSSA honorees Elliot Moore, Noah May and Brock Smalley. Senior Wesley Nelson returns for the jags.