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LHS Lady Farmers soccer coach, players earn accolades

Posted by MikeIbanez on 2016/5/7 13:48:35 (5075 reads)

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LHS first-year coach Jamie Pulpaneck celebrates a Farmer win. (Photo courtesy LHS)

A low-key compliment was paid to the Lewisville High School girls soccer program when District 6–6A coaches voted for the recently-completed season’s superlatives and all-district team.

After a season that began with a handful of 6-6A teams ranked among the area’s best and concluded with Flower Mound capturing the Class 6A state championship, it was LHS first-year coach Jamie Pulpaneck who was honored by her peers as district coach of the year.

The honor speaks to the rebuilding project underway at Max Goldsmith Stadium. In an academic year that will pass without a single LHS athletic team advancing to the postseason, it was Pulpaneck’s unlikely soccer team that finished its season closest to playoff participation.

Plano defeated the Lady Farmers 1-0 in the regular season finale to clinch 6-6A’s fourth and final playoff spot. Playing for a postseason berth on the last day of the season was the furthest thing from Pulpaneck’s mind when she accepted the challenge to take over the soccer program at her alma mater after a year away from coaching.

“I knew coming in, it wouldn’t be easy,” Pulpaneck said. “We don’t have the numbers of kids that other schools in our district do, and even fewer who play outside of school soccer. But I also knew I was a Farmer and I wanted to see pride back in the program.”

Elite and club soccer generally takes precedence over the spring school season. It is at the club level where players get year-round instruction and showcase their talents to college coaches. Competitive high school teams are typically comprised of a high number of club soccer stars and most 6-6A schools don’t have a starter who doesn’t also play for a club.

Lewisville isn’t typical.

After a rigorous preseason program -- Pulpaneck admits it was designed to challenge her players mentally -- the Lady Farmers fielded the smallest team in the district with only 14 varsity players. Of their 11 starters, two had never played at the club level.

Weeding out egos and developing mental toughness allowed Pulpaneck to do what many of her coaching peers aren’t able to -- emphasize team over individual success.

“I gathered the seniors together and asked them what they wanted to get from their senior year experience and they all agreed that they wanted to be relevant,” Pulpaneck said. “They didn’t want to be a joke anymore, a team that opponents could just chalk up an automatic win when they looked at the schedule. I told them that because we are small but mighty, we were going to have to outwork the other teams.”

In addition to hard work on the field, Pulpaneck introduced new coaching elements to her team. For the first time ever, they evaluated game film and endured individual assessments after every game.

It also didn’t hurt that she built her strategy around the district’s best goalkeeper. Junior Allison Anguiano was named goalkeeper of the year after turning back 153 of LHS opponents’ 168 shots on goal.

“She’s fearless in goal and holds herself to a very high standard,” Pulpaneck said of Anguiano. “She’s a very big reason for our success this season.”

Joining Anguiano on the 6-6A first team were seniors Carli Arthurs and Jaylin Finney, junior Myah Buehler and sophomore Amber Crews.

Arthurs will likely be a defender at Stephen F. Austin University next year, but led LHS in scoring from her forward position. Buehler earned enough respect to be named to the first team despite missing much of the season due to an injury.

Lewisville finished 7-5-4 in district play.

Hebron junior Gabby Duca was named 6-6A forward of the year. Duca’s teammate Chelsee Washington earned midfielder of the year, while Marcus sophomore Riley Mattingly was tabbed utility player of the year.

State champion Flower Mound had four players named to the first team -- Elena Reyna, Ashlan Hustava, Kendall James, and Caitlyn Aaron.

Senior John Cronin was the only member of the LHS boys soccer team to be named to the district first team. The Farmers finished eighth in the nine-team district.

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