The Waxahachie soccer Lady Indians made a fantastic Class 6A debut a year ago, but will have a lot of new faces on the pitch in 2020.
The Lady Indians are coming off a 19-8 season and a playoff appearance in 2019, their 11th in the last 14 years under longtime head coach Jason Venable. However, WHS also graduated a whipping 11 seniors off last year’s squad and will be relying on underclassmen to help the team’s five returning seniors carry the load.
So far, the youngsters appear to be up to the task. The Lady Indians (1-0-1)opened the new season on Thursday in the 17th annual Highway 287 Tournament at Waxahachie High School, playing Red Oak to a 2-2 draw in the first game and following later in the afternoon with a 6-0 win against Waco High.
The Lady Indians were scheduled to play Dallas Skyline at 4 p.m. on Friday and were to close out the tournament on Saturday against Fort Worth Trimble Tech at 4 p.m.
Senior captains Nina Ramirez, Rockie Acosta (a Texas A&M-Texarkana signee) and Angelica Gutierrez return to lead the Lady Indians and are joined by classmates Brooke Trull and Stephanie Mendez. The returning players from last year’s roster also include juniors Angel Garfias, Victoria Falcon, Lauren Hess and Bella Curiel; and sophomore Peyton Renfro.
Curiel and Renfro were second-team selections on last year’s inaugural Daily Light Media Group All-Ellis County girls soccer team, and Renfro was named the District 7-6A newcomer of the year.
Sophomore Liv Epps will take over goalkeeping duties.
After this weekend’s opening action, the Lady Indians will compete in the Joshua tournament next Friday and Saturday, opening against Haltom.
After a non-district match at Ennis on Jan. 14, the Lady Indians will jump straight into 7-6A play on Jan. 21 at Mansfield Lake Ridge. There are 16 district games on the WHS girls’ schedule, with Fort Worth Young Women’s Leadership Academy once again added to the regular district lineup.
The Indians (2-0) opened the new decade on Thursday in the Bruce Fink Invitational in San Antonio in emphatic fashion with an impressive 15-0 rout of Corpus Christi Moody after leading 8-0 at the half. They followed that on Friday morning with a 2-0 win against host San Antonio Alamo Heights. They were to take on Boerne at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the championship match to follow.
Last season ended in disappointment for the Indians, who led Richardson Pearce 1-0 in their bi-district playoff game, only to see the Mustangs equalize in the second half and then pull out the win in a shootout. WHS ended the year 12-7-4 overall and 6-4-3 in District 7-6A.
The Indians were hit hard by graduation, losing nine seniors in all, including their top two scorers. The leading returning scorer is senior Emmanuel Nwokonko, who netted four goals in the first half alone against Moody in Thursday’s opener.
Other returnees are seniors Joshua Redding, Austin Andrus, Jordan Beechum, Ruben Fuentes, Crisanto Perez and Christopher Gonzales, as well as junior John Paul Lopez. Redding and Perez return as goalkeepers.
Beechum was a first-team All-Ellis County selection in 2019, and Redding and Perez were both named to the second team.
Next weekend, WHS will travel to the College Station Showcase. After road games at Mansfield Legacy Jan. 14 and at Midlothian on Jan. 21, the Indians will host Life School Oak Cliff on Jan. 24 before beginning District 7-6A action at home against Cedar Hill on Jan. 28.