Lady Tigers looking for 9th straight district title
Monday, 21 January 2013 by David Tuma
One of the most dominating sports runs in Central Texas high school history is currently ongoing with the Lady Tigers winning eight straight district championships. Belton is simply loaded with some of the top soccer players in Texas in 2013. That is saying a lot for a program that churns out college athletes.
Last season 17 former Lady Tigers played soccer at the college level including three in the Big 12. This season because of their depth at forward they are moving to a; three-one-two-four alignment.
The formation the Lady Tigers will be using this season is used by Notre Dame. Their coach invented the formation and they have used it to become one of the top programs in the nation.
For teams in district this is a nightmare come true. At forward on the left is Maddy Goldston who plays D1 select. Maddy came in at times during last season and has speed and ball skills. "Maddy makes things happen she never stops," said Lady Tigers head coach Wendy Knight. Sophomore Aubrey Martinez plays middle forward and is ultra talented. She came in relief the second part of last year and can make passes few see coming. Ashley Winkler will play outside right forward. "She is very fast and has good ball skills. She can shoot with both feet and is a true forward," said Knight.
Natalie Russ and Chantel Gonzales will also play forward and with the Lady Tigers basically placing four forwards up front there will be room for other forwards to play.
The problem for top teams facing what Knight is doing is this, behind Martinez is Jamie Boone at midfield. She is the One. This alignment places two of the best ball skill players in the great Austin area right behind each other. Boone is a senior this year and has played at forward and some in the midfield she is a top player with experience she is directly behind the three forwards with nobody on either side.
Behind Boone are two defender midfielders senior Kat Parker and sophomore Jamie Brown. Both can play just about anywhere on any team. Also playing the middle will be Bailee Boren and freshman Alexis Mack. Mack has the speed and ball skills to make the Lady Tigers as a freshman.
Tarran Lisenbe will play defense on the right outside for the second year in a row. Maggie Villamaria started on defense last year along with Jacy Love. Brianna Davis is one of the top freshman defenders in the state and will start outside on the left. Davis plays at the ECNL level a notch above D1. The Lady Tigers have six players who play D1 two of which have scholarship offers. Rebekah Robinson is recovering from injury and Gonzales will also play defense.
Sophomore Courtney Dippel is the starting goalie but freshman Madison Kalista could at times be moved to goal with Dippel moved up on defense. Dippel is a D1 select player.
"It is an intimidating formation to face. You have to have the talent to pull it off and we are phenomenally talented. It is taking some getting used to for the players. They are learning something new. You can't run this formation if you don't have the players but we do. The weaknesses are counterbalance with talent," said Knight.
"Our defense is very talented and our formations give them problems in practice. If our defense can stop this in practice they can stop anything. We are starting four real forwards up front," said Knight.
The Lady Tigers play at the Arlington Tournament this weekend that is one of the top tournaments in the state. It will give them a chance to play against teams from the districts they will face in the playoffs. At the Round Rock tournament they will play Highland Park from Dallas, Cedar Ridge, Bowie and Pflugerville.
At the Governor's Cup in Georgetown the Lady Tigers drew Austin Westlake, 5A state champion Plano West and Lake Travis in what may be the toughest bracket of any women's tournament in the state this year.
District hasn't been much of a problem for the Lady Tigers but Midway's addition will be interesting. They are a top program with top players and it will be a huge game for the Lady Tigers. The teams have played each other every year and it is always a battle. There will be more on the line this year.
The other teams will be playing for third place behind Midway and Belton.