Friendswood progressing nicely as district play approaches
Usually at this point of the season, Friendswood boys’ soccer coach Stephen Peter will err on the side of caution in assessing his team’s progress.
But with the Mustangs having lost just one game in their first 11 outings, Peter finds it difficult to dismiss praise for this year’s group.
“I like the way the guys are playing,” the veteran Mustang boss said. “We’re very patient, we possess the ball well, and we’re pretty good, defensively.
“I think we just need to go forward a little bit quicker. That comes with possessions, and I think we’ll get there.”
Making Friendswood’s (7-1-3) success even more admirable is the fact that the Mustangs’ accomplishments have been produced by a relatively young core of athletes.
“We’re only starting two seniors, and we struggle at times because of our youth,” Peter said. “Our senior captain (Jacob Pisell) got hurt (concussion) Saturday against (Houston) Chavez.
“He does a good job of pulling our back four together. He’s a three-year starter and he really solidifies the back for us.”
Midfielder/forward Ethan Gamero is the only other senior on the squad.
“Ethan is another starter that’s playing well, and aside from him and Pisell, it’s just a bunch of new guys,” Peter said. “Josh Murphy (forward) is a junior and three-year starter, who’s our leading goal-scorer, and he’s also playing well.
“C.J. Barta has gotten the majority of minutes in goal, and he’s saved us quite a bit of the time. Without him making some big saves, we could have a much higher goals-against average.”
Friendswood’s lone loss was a 3-0 setback to College Park in the Aggieland Classic on Jan. 11. The Mustangs have salvaged ties against Fort Bend Ridge Point, Morton Ranch and Houston Chavez.
“Ridge Point is very solid,” Peter said. “Morton Ranch was an 8 a.m., tournament game, and we kind of slept-walked through it, but they’re a Katy team that’s very solid. Chavez is another strong team that will be in the playoffs.
“We’ve had some tough competition. We’ve only played one 5A team, and the rest have been 6A schools.”
The Mustangs were idle this past week, and used the extra practice time to prepare for District 22-5A competition.
“We’ve got Texas City to start off district play, and they beat us down there last year,” Peter said. “I’m not sure what they have coming back, but Texas City-Friendswood is always a battle. They’ll give us a run for our money.
“Galena Park is ranked No. 2 in the region, and we have them our third game. I did get to see them against North Shore, and they tied 3-3, and North Shore is traditionally pretty strong. One of Galena Park’s two best players didn’t play, and they looked good without him so when he plays they’ll really be a handful.”
As for the rest of the district foes, Peter may have to learn on the job.
“Goose Creek Memorial looked good last year against Pasadena Dobie before we caught Dobie in the second round of the playoffs. I’m just trying to get info on all our district opponents, but it hasn’t been easy since we were Class 6A the last four years.”
If scouting reports aren’t overly productive, Peter hopes his team’s play can account for any shortfall.
“We need to do a better job of finishing opportunities. Everybody in the world needs to do that,” he said. “We also need to play an entire 80 minutes.
“We’re still trying to get used to one another. We have the potential to be a very good team. With only one loss after three tournaments, I’m satisfied. At this point, I didn’t know where we would be record-wise, I just wanted us to get better each weekend, and for the most part, we have.”