Girls soccer to play Allen in first round of playoffs


Photo by Arisha Hirji

Junior Sydney Japic shields the ball from the defender. This is Japic’s first year on the team after moving from California earlier this year.

Girls soccer will play Allen tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the McKinney ISD Stadium for the first round of the playoffs. 

“Just getting to play and play against the best is exciting,” head coach Bobby Vaughn said. “Simply getting through our district and into the playoffs was a big deal, and now getting to continue playing and stay together is great.” 

The team ended the regular season in third place with a district record 8-4-2 and an overall record of 14-5-2. The team had many new players this season and Vaughn said not being able to do many of the normal team bonding activities, due to COVID, led to the team not being as close together as previous years. He said this was the biggest hurdle the team faced this year but the team has been very successful. 

“The biggest part of our success was coming together as a team,” Vaughn said. “The players have put aside their egos and said, ‘Let’s just find a way to win the game.’ We have some great players, but overall we are just a good team that plays well together.”

Vaughn said a big turning point for the team was winning 3-0 against Flower Mound on Feb. 23, who finished first in district and is currently ranked second in the state according to MaxPreps. Vaughn said the win helped the team buy into what they were doing and believe in themselves, leading to a strong second half of the season. He also said the team brings the intensity for the entire 80 minutes of the game and puts opponents under pressure.

“Our strengths are that everyone on the team is a hard worker and that we have a lot of skilled players,” junior midfielder Sydney Japic said. “Everyone brings that tenacity and high work rate which separates us from a lot of other teams.”

The team has been preparing for the game by watching both their own film and Allen’s. They have also been working various formations in practice to have different options for any game situation. Set pieces such as corners and free kicks have also been a focus in practice.

“Allen’s strength is their offense so we have been working a lot on defensive positioning and possession in the midfield so we don’t get caught on the counterattack,” sophomore center back Eleanor Hays said. “So I think our biggest focus for the game is being solid defensively and keeping the game tight.” 

Allen finished second in their district with a record of 8-2-2. Vaughn and Japic both said that capitalizing on the team’s chances offensively will be key for success against Allen. Japic also said keeping high energy and focus throughout the game will be important. 

“Allen is in the playoffs for a reason and they are a very good team, but I like our chances against them,” Vaughn said. “I think if we finish and take care of our chances the game will go how we want it to.”