WHS grad earns honors with UMHB
Kennedy named to all-American Southwest Conference men's soccer team
Raymond Kennedy wanted to make an impact this soccer season.
The Waxahachie High School graduate did just that in his first year playing for University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The junior transfer from Paris Junior College has been recognized on the all-American Southwest Conference second team. He also was named March 16 as the conference's West Division defensive player of the week, when he helped the team allow only seven shots in two wins and had the game-winning goal in one.
"I wanted to get something to show I can play at this level," he said about the all-conference honor. "I was very pleased with how I played."
The center back started all nine games and played 872 minutes, the most on the squad. "He brought a level of experience and composure," Mary Hardin-Baylor head coach Brad Bankhead said. "He is a very detailed and confident, smart guy."
"He's a quality defender. He's good in the air," he said. "He also makes good decisions."
The 5-foot-10 Kennedy said one of his two goals was off a throw-in. "It went through everybody," he said. "Someone was marking me. I basically got him off me to score."
The other was off a corner kick. He said he was positioned at the top of the box and struck the ball into the bottom right of the net.
His biggest adjustment was to the style of play. In junior college, players rely on teamwork and athleticism more than physicality, he said. But this season, he said, "The players were more physical on you. They were rushing at you, trying to hit you" to win and maintain ball possession.
Though the team finished the season 6-1-2, Kennedy thinks the snow week in February was costly. "If we hadn't had that, I think me and my teammates would have had a way better season," he said. "We were really cruising."
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith sophomore right-side hitter Courtney Crownover has been cited on the all-Lone Star Conference team. The Waxahachie High product ranked ninth in the conference with 5.94 assists per set and was 10th in service aces per set.
Another from Waxahachie High, University of Texas at Tyler junior setter Taylor Stoops is on the all-Lone Star Conference team. She was 11th in the conference with 5.66 assists per set.
Freshman hitter Lacy Mott of Southwestern Oklahoma State University is an all-Great American Conference honorable mention pick. The Waxahachie alumna led the team in kills and ranked 11th in the conference with 2.80 kills per set.
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org.