Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No. 1 McKinney Boyd kicks off with new coach


Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com
Senior striker Amanda Elertson and the McKinney Boyd girls team look to defend their state championship with a new coach.

McKinney Boyd’s girls soccer team, ranked No. 1 in the ESPNHS Fab 50, has already begun its 2012 campaign after winning its second state title in four years last season.

With the players who return, Boyd remains a frontrunner to bring another state title back to North Texas.

The biggest change for Boyd this year is on the sidelines.After one of North Texas’ most successful coaches, Jimmie Langford, resigned from Boyd to take a job coaching a boys team in Colorado, the reigns of the defending champs were given to Michele Estes.

The transition might not be as difficult as it sounds. Estes simply moved into the head coaching role after spending years as an assistant coach under Langford.Not much strategically has changed in Boyd’s play under Estes, but it’s intangibles that the new coach emphasizes to her players.“

She’s brought a more competitive atmosphere,” senior striker Amanda Elertson said. “She’s trying to ignite the team more. We’ve lost players from last year, so we need to find a chemistry this year that will make us as successful as last year.”

Before practices and games, Boyd breaks out to the cheer “We are one” to put teamwork and team chemistry in the front of the players' minds as they move through the season, preparing for another playoff run.It’s that personal connection with the team that Elerton values in Estes, which in turn is what Estes wants to spread amongst the team.“She knows your personality,” Elertson said. “If you’re struggling, she knows what’s best to help pick you up and get you going, and I think it’s really good to have a coach that knows you.”

Elertson is one of many Boyd players who participates year-round by playing club soccer outside of the school team. Estes believes this creates a business-like attitude that prevents true chemistry from forming. Estes hopes she can create a more personal connection amongst the Boyd team, which is something the players rarely have the opportunity to form on club squads.Boyd will have another tough road to state again this year with five North Texas girls teams ranked in the top 10 in the Fab 50 as of Jan. 8.

The 5A state runner-up, Colleyville Heritage, ranks No. 3 in the nation in the Week 6 poll, behind Coppell. Ursuline Academy ranks No. 4 as it looks to continue its dynasty in the state’s private school ranks.

North Texas has the chance to make a strong push on the boys side, as well, with the efforts being led by defending 5A state champion Southlake Carroll. Carroll entered the 2012 season with a 31-match undefeated streak that is the second longest active streak in the nation.

The surprise team to watch for is Hebron, which is ranked No. 12 in the nation as of Jan. 8, just one spot ahead of district rival Allen at No. 13.

The perennial powerhouse, Frisco Wakeland, comes in at No. 14, looking to sandwich a girls state title last season with a boys title in 2010.But 2012 has the chance to be the season of Boyd in soccer, with a boys team that ranks No. 9 in the Fab 50, competing with the girls side for the higher national ranking when all is said and done.

The girls, of course, are winning the battle so far, and have the will and drive to repeat last season’s success.

“Everone on this team is competitive and everyone wants to win,” Elertson said. “They have that drive and desire, and I think we can be as successful.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Competition on Day 3 topped the Charts... NEPS provides quality

Sheldon Shealer/ESPNHSAmerican Heritage-Delray's Sidney Paraodie, 9, makes a run at goal during the team's meeting with McKinney Boyd at the National Elite Prep Showcase.
FORT WORTH, Texas – Before their final match, Rachel Lurvey and Courtney Forte entertained the crowd with an impromptu dance. Once the contest started, teammates Katelyn Mountjoy and Baylee Mitchell took center stage, scoring goals as Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) upended Ursuline Academy (Dallas, Texas) 2-0 at Texas Christian University to complete a 4-0 run through the National Elite Prep Showcase on Saturday.

Marcus, Carroll (Southlake, Texas) and Keller (Texas) were the only schools to win all four of their matches at the mixer-style event that featured 32 teams representing the three major winter-playing soccer states: California, Florida and Texas.

“We have the mentality to take state, and that’s motivating us,” said Mitchell, whose final minute breakaway goal – created by a well-played pass from right back Dani Murphy -- sealed the 2-0 victory.

Marcus defeated Murrieta Valley (Murrieta, Calif.), Martin (Arlington, Texas) and Midland (Texas) to set up the showdown with Ursuline, which entered the contest at 13-0.

The match was scoreless midway through the second half until Mountjoy, a junior and early commit to UNC-Greensboro, placed a 25-yard direct kick in the upper right corner – kissing the post before ending up in the goal.

“This was a very strong victory for us,” Mountjoy said. “Ursuline, in the past, won a lot of state titles, so we knew we shouldn’t under-estimate them. We were way more aggressive.”
Marcus entered the event ranked No. 31 in the POWERADE FAB 50, but the win over No. 4 Ursuline will vault the Marauders into the top five next week.


The National Elite Prep Showcase is the only event that gathers teams from three states, and thus the results play a major part in shaping the rankings not only for this coming Tuesday but also the rest of the season.

The top four teams in the POWERADE FAB 50 were in action in this event, and here are the major winners and losers:

" No. 1 Boyd (McKinney, Texas) allowed a last-second goal in a 2-2 event-ending draw with No. 28 Grapevine (Texas). The result likely will cost Boyd the top ranking next week, although the Broncos will be among the top five.

" No. 2 Coppell (Texas) tied its final two matches to end 2-0-2. A win over St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) will keep the Cowgirls among the nation’s elite, although it will drop from the top five.

" No. 3 Heritage (Colleyville, Texas) went 0-2-2 at the event and will fall completely from the rankings.

" No. 4 Ursuline’s event-ending loss to Marcus will bump this program from the top five, however, solid wins over American Heritage-Delray (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Kingwood (Humble, Texas) will keep the Bears ranked fairly high.

" No. 8 Carroll not only went 4-0, but also shut out all four opponents. This team figures to move into the forefront of the national title race.

" No. 13 St. Thomas Aquinas. Last year, the Raiders used this event to propel themselves toward a POWERADE FAB 50 national title. This year’s youthful squad went 2-1-1, and will remain a Top 25 team.

" No. 18 American Heritage-Delray. Coach Steve Burgess welcomed the challenge of the event and this small school Florida power, which entered at 17-0, will go home 18-2-1 after a 1-2-1 showing.

" Rosary (Santa Ana, Calif.) went 2-1-1, a good showing for a team that entered as No. 38 in the ESPNHS California Top 40. Rosary previously was a FAB 50 top 20 team until a loss and a draw right before the event knocked them from the rankings. Rosary tied St. Thomas Aquinas and the team’s only setback was to Southlake Carroll. That sort of showing speaks well for the quality of play in California, as a whole.

" Keller was a big surprise, going 4-0 while playing in the Baylor SportsCare Bracket, which was the second-highest competitive group.

" Flower Mound (Texas) posted a 3-1 record, losing only to Rosary, which should be good enough to earn the team a state top 20 ranking.


" McKenna Arras, Coppell (Texas): Coppell was unable to capitalize on any of its numerous offensive chances, so it was up to keeper McKenna Arras to keep Allen (Texas) out of the net. Arras delivered several saves and came off the line a few times to snuff out potential chances to help Coppell play to a scoreless draw.

" Katelyn Mountjoy, Marcus. The junior scored what proved to be the winning goal in Marcus’ 2-0 victory over Ursuline. It was her third goal of the day (after scoring two in a morning win over Midland) and fifth in the four matches.

" Sophie Groff, Carroll. Groff scored the lone goal in the team’s event-ending 1-0 win over Clear Lake (Houston, Texas) to complete a 4-0 showing at the event. Groff scored the only goals in the 1-0 wins over Westlake (Austin, Texas) and Clear Lake, assisted both goals in a 2-0 win over Rosary and was limited to two in the team’s 12-0 thrashing of Palo Duro (Amarillo, Texas).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 2 in the Books at the NEPS; Boyd, Ursuline, and Marcus Roll

Sheldon Shealer/ESPNHS
Lindsey Jones gains possession of the ball for McKinney Boyd in a match against Kingwood.

Editor’s Note: The National Elite Prep Showcase daily notebook will be updated throughout the day as matches are played.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Coach Michele Estes inherited the McKinney Boyd (McKinney, Texas) girls’ soccer program, knowing there was plenty of top-end talent remaining from last year’s Texas Class 5A state championship-winning team. This weekend, Estes is finding even more firepower than expected.Although Nebraska commit Amanda Elertson has yet to score, POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Boyd has received goals from four players en route to 3-0 and 2-0 victories in their first two matches at the National Elite Prep Showcase. During Friday’s early contest at Texas Christian University, Libby Murphy and Hailey Hunt found the net as the Broncos knocked off No. 19 Kingwood (Humble, Texas). Texas Tech commit Caity Heap controls play in the midfield, creating chances for the forwards while Rice commit Kara Dugall, a goalkeeper, has yet to allow a goal.

EARLY SURPRISE: Colleyville Heritage’s lofting national ranking is appearing too high following the team’s first two matches. The surprise of last year had climbed to No. 3 this year before play started, however a first-round draw with Georgetown (Texas) and a Friday loss to Central (San Angelo, Texas) likely will end Heritage’s run in the POWERADE FAB 50.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: A total of eight goals were scored in the first six matches played at Texas Christian University on Friday. Every contest featured a shutout. The other 12 contests played through mid-day at the other four venues, there were only three shutouts.

Lindsey Harris, Westlake (Austin, Texas): Harris, a goalkeeper who is committed to North Carolina, delivered a few clutch saves en route to Westlake's 1-0 victory over Nolan Catholic (Fort Worth, Texas).

Mackenzie Kligmann, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): Kligman, a sweeper, anchored an Aquinas defense that gave Allen (Texas) few chances in a 1-0 result for the nationally ranked Florida squad.

Kendall Ritchie, Westlake (Austin, Texas): Ritchie was smooth on the ball and created a few chances. However, late in the game, she unleashed a left-footed rocket that ended up as the lone goal as Westlake defeated Nolan Catholic (Fort Worth, Texas).

Kingwood’s trip to the National Elite Prep Showcase was anything but usual. After having a series of bus problems on the first three hours of a four-hour drive from Houston to Fort Worth, the coach made a decision to stop in Corsicana, Texas, to rent a pair of 15-passenger vehicles and complete the journey. … Coppell junior Paige Jacobs is playing for the No. 2-ranked high school team in the nation, yet lives in the shadow of her 18-year-old older brother, Colin Jacobs, who was drafted by the NHL Buffalo Sabres this past summer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Day of Chilly Weather in the books for the NEPS

Sheldon Shealer/ESPNHS
Clear Lake (Houston, Texas) keepers warm up prior to the team's opening match against Coppell (Texas) at the National Elite Prep Showcase at Texas Christian University.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- When POWERADE FAB 50 No. 4 Ursuline (Dallas, Texas) and No. 18 American Heritage-Delray (Delray Beach, Fla.) met Thursday in the opening match at the National Elite Prep Showcase, something had to give between a pair of teams that were a combined 27-0. It ended up being American Heritage-Delray’s defense.

Boston College commit Jana Jeffrey had a goal and one assist and Candace Johnson delivered a strong performance to lead Ursuline (11-0) to a 3-0 victory, handing American Heritage-Delray its first loss in 18 matches. “This was a bit of an eye-opener for us,” Delray coach Steve Burgess confessed. “We’ve had a good run in Florida for the last eight years or so, and now we’re getting to see what it’s all about at this level.”

For Ursuline, the result starts to make amends for last year’s showing at this event, where the then highly regarding private school program hobbled to a 1-3 showing and fell from the national rankings. “Last year, we didn’t do well here,” said Johnson, whose centering passing early in the match led to a goal by Kellie Schnurr, before Johnson scored a goal of her own. “We wanted to make a statement this year with a decisive win.”

Throughout the day, ESPNHS will update the top team and individual performances from Thursday’s opening round.

Jana Jeffrey, Ursuline Academy: The Boston College-bound forward assisted the team’s second goal and scored the third as the Bears humbled American Heritage-Delray 3-0.

Mayra Pelayo, American Heritage-Delray: Pelayo is a technically sound player who demonstrated great skill on the ball. Coach Steve Burgess said Pelayo is still getting used to the speed of play since the high school game is filled with players two and three years older. Pelayo plays club soccer for magicJack.


Teams set for Fort Worth's Elite Prep Showcase tourney | Sports | Grapevine Courier

Teams set for Fort Worth's Elite Prep Showcase tourney Sports Grapevine Courier

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NEPS hosts the Nation's Top Teams; Twelve of the Top 31

It's only one tournament lasting 48 hours in Ft. Worth, Texas, but it ultimately will play a major role in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings for the rest winter high school season.

This week's National Elite Prep Showcase, formerly known as the Nolan Showcase, features nine teams currently ranked in the Top 25 -- including the current 1, 2, 3 and 4 squads.

Multiple programs from California and Florida join a Texas-dominated field for the most nationally significant event of the season, which starts Thursday and wraps up Satuday.

From Florida, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) used this event to jumpstart a national No. 1 ranking in 2011. The Raiders return with an undefeated record in 2012. Undefeated American Heritage-Delray (Delray Beach, Fla.) enters this year's event with a chance to earn even more national respect. Meanwhile, Rosary (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Murrieta Valley (Murrieta, Calif.) will look to make a statement for California soccer.

The homestanding Texas programs, led by No. 1 Boyd (McKinney, Texas), will need to roll the out-of-state opponents to maintain a strangehold on the top of the national rankings.


ESPNHS Top 25 in Action this Week at NEPS

FAB 50 girls' soccer scores, Jan. 9-15

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coaches Manual

Coaches Manuals with rules and showcase information will be sent to each coach on Monday, Jan. 9th.