By Terry Carter
The Seven Lakes’ girls soccer team enters the pre-district gauntlet starting on Monday as the state-ranked Lady Spartans travel to play 2021 Region II champion The Woodlands.
Seven Lakes returns a quality, young nucleus, speed and teamwork from an 18-3-1 squad, including all-state, junior goalkeeper Maddie Rich. And they will be tested immediately in 2022 as the Lady Spartans meet three ranked teams. Two advanced to the state tournament last spring.
First matches of the season include:
- The Woodlands on Monday at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Conroe ISD at 7 p.m.
- Region III champion Memorial on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. at Grand Oaks in Spring
- Grand Oaks on Friday at 7:15 p.m., also at Grand Oaks High School
- Spartan fans can also attend a Saturday 4:15 p.m. match at the same location against Cy Woods
Seventh-year head coach Katelynn Eidson said the Lady Spartans are going to setting goals one step at a time. “We are using preseason to play some really challenging opponents so when we enter the district season, we are playing as the best team we can be at that time,” she said. “Early in our season, we are going to go against the best of the best because that is what is going to make us better.”
In an end-of-the-year scrimmage at Paetow High School on Thursday, the Lady Spartans scored early and led 4-0 at the break due to disciplined passing, solid midfield play and highly efficient defenders.
Junior forwards Haydan Erk and Kennedy Hatten, as well as sophomore midfielder Wagoner Towsen spearheaded numerous balanced attacks on the Paetow goal. Seven Lakes controlled the pace and was rarely forced to fall back on defense in the first half. Seven Lakes keeper Rich made only one save, well away from the goal, as Lady Spartan defenders dominated play near the Seven Lakes goal.
Junior midfielder Emma Esquivel also had several shots on goal and scored the final goal, making it 5-0 against the 5A Lady Panthers, who finished 5-12-3 in the spring. Paetow also returns experience and firepower in junior Rayal Henderson, Ashley Dodd and defender Juana Rodriguez, according to Paetow assist soccer coach Lauren Metrailer.