AP NEWS

K-Park soccer has back-to-back state apperance aspirations

January 9, 2019

Junior Leah Hoyt remembers Kingwood Park’s magical journey last season — The Lady Panthers advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

The Lady Panthers came up short in the Class 5A state semifinal but learned a lot about how to be a team and play for one another last season.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Hoyt, a forward and middle-fielder. “I have never been a part of a team that made school history before. It brought everyone closer together last year and it’s helping us now. Losing never feels good, but we learned from it because now we know how hard we have to work to get there. It just means this season that we have to work even harder to get back to state.”

Kingwood Park went 24-3-1 last season, which included an undefeated district championship. It was the sixth district title for the Lady Panthers and fourth undefeated district title. It was the first time since 2016 that the Lady Panthers won 20 games in a season.

The Lady Panthers are ranked No. 2 in the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches poll. K-Park is 3-0 and will begin District 20-5A play at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Montgomery.

“It’s an honor to be recognized, but we’re just looking forward to being a better team each game,” said senior middle-fielder/defender Taylor Debrosky. “It gives us confidence, but we know there’s a lot of season to still play. We’re progressing so far this season and we’re looking to build off last season. We all love each other and our chemistry is great. We’re one big family on this team.”

Also, K-Park will look to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season since the school opened in 2008.

K-Park head coach Jess White, who is in his 9th season at K-Park, has seen the Lady Panthers play strong in the preseason.

“We have had some good leadership so far this season,” White said. “The girls have invested in each other and are working together, and they’re having fun out there. We have had a lot of girls contribute so far this season, and we’re only going to get better as the season goes on.

White has had success at K-Park with a 139-34-25 overall record and looks to continue to build the soccer program.

Building a foundation has led to the team buying into the system each season.

“Our emphasis is to no matter what happens that we leave it all out on the field whoever we play or wherever we play,” White said. “There’s going to be times where we come up short, but if we can represent our school well and the community regardless of the score, we have done a good job.”

K-Park will have 14 returning players coming back from last season’s team, including eight starters.

Allie Bryd, who signed to play soccer at North Texas in November, scored 24 goals last season, including three hat tricks.

Top contributors Hoyt, Bella Salazar, Debrosky and AJ Weeks are also back for the Lady Panthers.

“I think it’s extremely important to have girls coming back with experience,” White said. “Whenever we face adversity the girls have each other to lean on and the experience that they have will help each other. They will never give up. And to have confidence in one another is important.”

marcus.gutierrez@chron.com

AP RADIO
Update hourly