The expectations surrounding the Waxahachie Lady Indians have never been higher and all three team captains agree that those expectations start with winning district.
“The expectations are for us to come out and place well at every tournament and then win district then go as far as we can in playoffs,” senior team captain Kate Praslicka said.
After winning district in 2009 as a young team that topped perennial power Hewitt Midway, the Lady Indians finished tied for second last season in District 15-4A behind Red Oak.
Red Oak has not lost a district game since 1990 and during the streak has won more than 200 district contests.
“One of our team’s goals is always district champions so it will definitely be one again this year. Red Oak is always a talented team and always a huge competition. We are hoping to break the streak this year, but the matches will be tough and we are looking forward to them,” senior captain Sophie Stevens said.
Waxahachie lost both matches to Red Oak last season but will get its first chance to snap the streak Sept. 23 at home before playing the district finale in Red Oak on Oct. 25.
“Sweeping district is definitely a first goal of ours and beating our top opponents is a must,” senior captain Cara Partington said. “In order to achieve these goals it’s going to take hard work, dedication and heart from everyone, which is something everyone on our team has. I’m very excited and truthfully, going to state this year is definitely not beyond of what we are capable of doing.”
Partington and Praslicka are four-year varsity members while Stevens joined the team her sophomore year. The three captains have plenty of playoff experience having helped guide the Lady Indians to back-to-back trips to the Class 4A Region II tournament.
“I’m hoping to make it back to regionals this year but we have a long road ahead. I have no idea what to expect from other teams but Pearce is always a strong team and hopefully we will be meeting at the regional tournament again. Third times the charm,” Stevens said.
In each of the last two seasons that Waxahachie advanced to regionals it was J.J. Pearce who ended the playoff run for Waxahachie with more experienced teams.
Now that Waxahachie has the experienced team the expectations to reach the state tournament in San Marcos is in sight.
“Winning state has been a goal of ours since our seventh-grade year when we all started playing together, along with some amazing younger players that are with us now,” Partington said. “We have the talent from everyone on this team, because every single girl has something to offer. It’s a dream of everyone’s and there is not a doubt in my mind that we can’t make it there with a true team effort.”
Waxahachie opens the season Monday with a home game against Ellis County rival Midlothian. A win Monday will be one goal down for Praslicka as the two-time district MVP miss last season’s game in which Midlothian prevailed.
“I’m ready for Midlothian because last year it wasn’t a fair game as two of our starters were on the bench. This year will definitely be a good game,” Praslicka said.
The road to San Marcos will feature three tough tournaments and a district race that pits three of the top programs in Region II against one another.
As mentioned before, Red Oak has dominated its district for years while Mesquite Poteet has also had a strong program. Forney is also a team expected to compete for a playoff position this year while all three will give the Lady Indians the practice they need for the playoffs.
“I don’t think the expectations of state are ever too much. Our team may not have the height of other state competitors but we have heart and fight, which can get us far,” Stevens said.
“My expectations are very high for this season. We have a lot of talent and hard working players. We also have a huge inspiration for this year, Tori. Everything’s for her so I think, with all the hard work and drive our team has, this season will be very successful.”