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Girls soccer: Lady Cougars eye playoff return, experience easing transition to new coach
With a first-year and first-time head coach in Alexi Bassinger, a learning curve could have been expected for The Colony's girls soccer team.
Instead, the Lady Cougars have gotten out to a quick start, opening its 2013 campaign with a 4-0 record at the International Elite Prep Tournament hosted by Fort Worth Nolan and Southlake Carroll.
"It's going very well," Bassinger said. "The girls and the parents and everyone have been great. They bought into the system and have been working hard."
Bassinger said the focus early was fitness, including players competing on the cross country team during the fall. There has also been an emphasis on defense.
"We want to have a lot of touches and control the possession," Bassinger said. "Lately, we've been focusing on the back line because I think it starts with being strong there."
While The Colony has a new coach, they do return eight starters from last year's team.
"Our chemistry has been strong," Bassinger said. "That's made things a lot easier for me, too."
Leading the way with varsity experience is Taylor Erwin, a four-year starter at keeper.
"We're well-equipped in the net with her there," Bassinger said. "She's just a good all-around goalie. She is super intelligent, plays well in the air and does a good job of cutting down the angles."
Erwin is supported on the back row by another four-year starter in Katelyn Taschler, who was an all-district performer last season.
Rounding out the defense is sophomore Taylor Sargent, freshman Ashley Mayhew - who is transitioning from the forward position - sophomore Paige Harm and senior Emery Colbert.
"Our defenders have been solid, but they can also get involved in the attack," Bassinger said. "They're very athletic and can play in the air."
Midfielders include junior and captain Chelsea Martin, who will be leaned on for scoring, sophomore Hailey Logsdon, junior Drea Molina, and a mix of junior Jasmine Guerra Muniz and freshman Haley Post.
"We're strong in the middle and fast on the outside," Bassinger said. "We have great communication there. I like the makeup of our midfield."
Up front, The Colony is paced by senior Kailand Thompson.
"She's a powerhouse," Bassinger said. "She is a captain and is a great all-around player."
Seniors Taylor DeLeon and Madeline Jurek, freshman Ravyn Hoelscher and sophomore Bre Tolleson also fit into the rotation at forward.
"We have three or four solid goal-scorers," Bassinger said. "We've already seen that during the first tournament."
In four games in Fort Worth, The Colony scored nine goals, defeating Amarillo (3-0), San Antonio Antonian (2-1), Odessa Permian (3-0) and Georgetown (1-0).
"We scored well but I was also really pleased we only allowed one goal," Bassinger said. "Kailand was phenomenal and led us in scoring and Ashley really stepped up, too."
While The Colony has started well, they still have some depth issues to answer.
"We're kind of shallow, so we're going to have to stay healthy," Bassinger noted. "That's one of the reasons fitness during the offseason was so important for us."
If the Lady Cougars can stay healthy, they hope to compete for a postseason spot out of District 20-4A.
"Looking at it now, Highland Park and Creekview are probably the preseason favorites," Bassinger said. "Highland Park is really pretty stacked. But we think we will be able to compete."