Utah Mansell

Guyer's Utah Mansell (18) celebrates after he scores a goal against opponent, Lewisville, at Guyer High School.

Guyer has been waiting for a chance to get back onto the field in the postseason since falling to Trophy Club Nelson in heartbreaking fashion in the bi-district round last year.

The Lady Wildcats, who finished second in District 5-6A, will have a chance to get that elusive first playoff win for second-year coach Mandy Hall when they travel to take on Hebron at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“They’re really excited, and I told them all year that experience from last season will do a lot for them,” Hall said. “I think some of them are starting to realize that. There isn’t as much unknown or jitters and anxiety, especially for the older girls because they’ve been here before. That experience will help them a lot.”

Hebron finished third in District 6-6A behind Coppell and Flower Mound Marcus, and the Lady Hawks are 15-3-2. Hebron won four straight games to close the regular season and last lost 1-0 to Coppell on Feb. 22.

Guyer enters the matchup with a record of 18-3-1 after going 11-3 in district play. The Lady Wildcats won four of their last five outings, including a 3-1 win over Nelson.

Hall said Guyer will focus on containing Hebron’s talented midfield attack while trying to get its offense and forward movement going early. Sophomores Olivia Ramirez (23 goals, eight assists) and Sami Gomez (11 goals, 10 assists) are the Lady Wildcats’ offensive leaders, and junior Allie Lyons has a team-high 11 assists.

“I feel good about it, especially after the Byron Nelson win,” Hall said. “That will be good for us with it having been so close to the end of the season. If we can get our midfield and forwards on the same page and clicking early, we should be in a good position.”

Guyer is looking to pick up its first playoff win since 2014, when the team advanced to the Class 4A Region I quarterfinals before falling to Fort Worth Arlington Heights under former coach Kenny Blevins. The winner of Thursday’s game will play Richardson Pearce or Waxahachie early next week.

“This senior class of nine players has gone through this two-year transition, so for them to be able to go out knowing it meant something and it worked would be huge for them,” Hall said. “It’s about getting back to where Guyer was. It’s one thing to talk about it, but to follow through would definitely build a lot of confidence.”

— Staff writer Brady Keane

Lake Dallas boys hoping to capitalize on district title

A pair of draws were the only blemishes for a Lake Dallas team that dominated District 8-5A en route to the district title. The Falcons (17-2-3) have only lost once in 2019 and have been on a roll they hope to carry through the Class 5A playoffs.

Their opponent in the bi-district round is Saginaw, a team they met Jan. 6. The first meeting ended in a 1-1 draw, giving Lake Dallas coach Brandon Martin a good idea of what the Rough Riders (12-7-3) will bring to the table at 8 p.m. Thursday at Lake Dallas.

“They have some good players with an organized coach that is going to give them the best chance at success,” Martin said. “They have speed up front and in the back with decent size for set pieces. They’re a team we definitely need to show up for or they may beat us.”

Led by a balanced attack that has netted 77 goals in 22 games, Martin expects his team to find its rhythm and open up the attack in the playoffs just as in district. The only difference is the stakes.

Fortunately for Martin, his team played in do-or-die games last year when the Falcons reached the second round of the playoffs before falling in extra time. With added experience and talent along with two hungry seniors in Carlos Zamora and Jayden Hendrix, Martin is confident his team is prepared for the challenge.

“While everything we did in district was good, you have to start over and forget about being a 'champion' because everyone you play is going to be good,” Martin said. “Everyone knows how important each game is. It’s just limiting mistakes and capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes — that’s what it boils down to at this point.”

— Contributing writer Matthew Brune

Guyer boys back in postseason for first time since 2014

The Guyer boys soccer team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2014, but coach Cody Schroeder and the Wildcats are on a roll as they prepare to take on Coppell at 6 p.m. Thursday at Lake Dallas.

Guyer, which won just four games last season, went 13-2-7 in the regular season this year and posted a 6-2-3 record to finish third in a loaded District 5-6A. The Wildcats defeated Keller Fossil Ridge 4-2 last Friday to lock up the No. 3 seed, and Guyer hasn’t lost a game since Feb. 5.

“They’re all really excited,” Schroeder said. “We don’t have any people with experience in the playoffs and some people can look at that as a bad thing, but we’re going to try to paint it as a positive. It’s an opportunity to do something we haven’t done in a while. We talked all year about competing game in and game out to have a chance to play and win that first playoff game.

“Once you get into the month of April, that’s our version of March Madness. Anybody can get on a run. A win would just bolster confidence and validate and give credibility to the successful season we’ve had.”

Guyer is led by a potent offense that has given opponents trouble all year. The Wildcats scored 59 goals in 22 games, ranking second among District 5-6A teams behind only first-place finisher Southlake Carroll. Senior Utah Mansell set a new program scoring record with 23 goals while several other players, including Sebastian Escheverria, Cole Schroeder and Roushdy Jimenez, have also significantly contributed to the offense.

While Guyer is unbeaten in its last 11 games, Coppell enters the postseason having won seven of its last nine games. Sebastian Blaas (16 goals), Tom Vazhekatt (11 goals) and Joe Ruedi (seven goals, 10 assists) are the leaders for the Cowboys, who finished second in District 6-6A behind Flower Mound.

The winner of Thursday night’s game will advance to play either Grand Prairie or Dallas Skyline next week.

“Coppell will be very similar to the top half of our district,” Cody Schroeder said. “They’re going to be very technically organized, good at every position. We’re going to have to defend well, create opportunities to score and take advantage of them once we get them.”

— Staff writer Brady Keane

Denton girls aiming for first playoff win under Speight

Denton coach Matthew Speight knows his team is in for a challenge in the playoffs after sneaking into the postseason and earning the four seed from district 8-5A. In the bi-district round, the Lady Broncos (10-7-4) face a Grapevine team comfortably ranked in the top 10 in the state in many sites and ranked No. 5 in Texas by MaxPreps.com. The two meet at Denton high school at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The Lady Mustangs (20-1-3) tore through District 7-5A, going 13-0-1 on their way to a district championship.

“Grapevine is good across the field,” Speight said. “They’re highly ranked and really skilled in the midfield. Then they have three girls up top who can score if they get space, so offensively they are extremely dangerous.”

While they present plenty of challenges for Denton, Speight is confident after success his team has had this season with their pressure and pace of play.

With six seniors on the roster and four starting, including defender Gigi Upchurch and midfielder Zoe Hensley, the Lady Broncos know they need to play one of their best games of the year to extend their seasons or their careers.

“At this point, you have one more guaranteed, that’s it," Speight said. "If you want the season to continue, you’ve got to bring the absolute best to every game moving forward.”

— Contributing writer Matthew Brune

Lady Raiders preparing for another first-round thriller

Two seasons ago, the Ryan girls were edged out in the first round by Aledo, which went on to play in the Class 5A title game. Last year, the Lady Raiders had a shot at redemption but lost in overtime.

There won’t be a third meeting Thursday, but Ryan coach Kendall Pryor still expects a first-round thriller.

Ryan (12-3-3) will face perennial playoff favorite Colleyville Heritage (15-5-4) at 7 p.m. at Justin Northwest.

“It’s always a challenge [in the playoffs],” Pryor said. “I just told the girls to assume this one is going into extra minutes too, because Colleyville is good and will battle just as hard as we will. Our girls are just ready to get out there and play.”

Ryan is in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons but looking to make it out of the first round for the first time in that stretch. The Lady Raiders are led by the trio of North Texas commit Joniyah Binder (eight goals, two assists), Texas State commit Wimberley Wright and Hardin-Simmons pledge Kendall Dowling.

Heritage advanced three rounds deep a year ago, but Pryor said the Lady Raiders should match up well with the Lady Panthers, who use a similar formation with a talented roster.

“The key for us will be limiting turnovers, controlling possession and finding a way to keep executing,” Pryor said. “I scouted Colleyville when they played Grapevine, and there were a few things we were able to take away. But the bottom line is we have to take care of ourselves and control what we can control.

“If we can focus on that, I think we’ll be fine. Either way, it’s going to be a hard battle.”

— Contributing writer Steve Gamel

Braswell boys to host Birdville

After winning a home-and-home coin toss against Birdville, Braswell will look to secure its first ever playoff win when they host the Hawks at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Having our home crowd behind us is huge,” Braswell coach Chance Rose said. “We’re really excited to host a game of this magnitude and have a chance to be the first program at Braswell to earn a playoff win.”

The Bengals will be led by Gary Riveros and Diego Rodas, who have each scored a team-high 10 goals. Braswell outscored its opponents 45-29 en route to earning the No. 3 seed in District 8-5A.

Riveros and Rodas helped the Bengals secure their second consecutive playoff berth after the team fell to Aledo 2-1 in the first round last season.

“Last year we got to feel the sting of a first-round defeat against Aledo,” Rose said. “After that game, I told all the returning players to think about that feeling. We don’t want that again.”

Birdville showcases lots of speed up front to go along with a talented midfield. The Hawks won eight of their last nine games to close the regular season and secured the No. 2 seed out of District 7-5A.

“They play a little different formation than we’re used to seeing, but we have a game plan ready to go,” Rose said. “We know we’re going up against a great program, but as long as we do our job, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win on Friday night.”

Contributing writer Bronte Hermesmeyer

Argyle boys, girls looking for wins over Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis

The Argyle boys and girls soccer teams will both square off against Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. Both teams will play at Keller ISD Stadium, with the girls at 6 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m.

The Lady Eagles have been nothing short of dominant over the past two months. Argyle cruised to a District 7-A championship while outscoring their opponents 51-2.

Argyle’s defense has only allowed 12 goals all season, and Lily Coleman has emerged as the Lady Eagles’ premier scorer with 26 goals.

Diamond Hill-Jarvis (14-5-2) is led by senior Jackie Garcia, who has scored 42 goals while recording 23 assists this season.

“We’ve just got to step up our game,” Koke said. “We can’t really pat ourselves on the back and feel good about what we accomplished in district at the moment. Games are going to get harder and it’s all about who’s playing the best soccer right now. It’s win or go home.”

The Argyle boys enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed out of District 7-4A after splitting the season series against Bridgeport. The Diamond Hill-Jarvis boys have two forwards with speed who excel in using their athletic ability to exploit teams behind the defensive line.

“This is going to be a fresh start for us, and we need to get ready for one game at a time,” coach Ben Parks said. “Games aren’t guaranteed anymore, so we’ll be dialed in and ready to go on Friday.”

Contributing writer Bronte Hermesmeyer

BRADY KEANE can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @BradyKeane. 

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