Area girls soccer teams eye state titles

Madeline Talbot throws the ball out from the goal.

Madeline Talbot throws the ball out from the goal.

Last girls soccer season saw three local teams make nearly historic runs toward state championships as Byrd, Parkway, and Loyola made deep runs in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, all three came up a little short of bringing a title back to the area.

Those three schools figure to be in the thick of the race again as the 2016-17 season gets underway today around the area.

The Lady Jackets got all the way to the championship game in Division I before losing a heartbreaker to Mt. Carmel on a late goal. It marked the first time Byrd had reached the title contest in 20 years. All-Metro coach Lisa Levermann was a member of that team, which won the crown in 1996. Senior midfielder Taylor Arnold (12 goals, 7 assists), sophomore defender Eva Paul, and senior goalkeeper Madeline Talbot all made the All-Metro team a year ago, and will return for another run at state.

“We have eight senior starters, plus a good group of freshmen again this year,” Levermann said. “I hope our experience and that disappointment of coming so close last year can give us an edge this season to get back and finish the job.”

Caddo Magnet, which lost in the second round to St. Scholastica, will provide Byrd with the biggest local challenge, looking to improve on a 8-10-5 record

Parkway swept through District 1-II, outscoring league opponents 55-0 en route to a 26-6-1 record before falling to eventual champion Benjamin Franklin in the semifinals. Coach Brett Barker’s squad will return district Offensive MVP Mackenzie Kleinpeter and All-District goalkeeper Madelyn Elliott. Kleinpeter, a senior forward, scored a remarkable 54 goals and 26 assists last season to lead the area.

Two teams figure to challenge the Lady Panthers for the District 1-II title this year. Benton went 14-7-1 and 6-2-0 in district before falling in the second round to West Ouachita, while the Captain Shreve went down to St. Thomas More in the second round.

The Lady Tigers return senior district Defensive MVP Shayla Lee, along with forward Hailey McGhee, midfielder Braylin Shaffer, center mid Breanna Bundy, and defender Lynnse Terhune.

While the Lady Gators lost several seniors to graduation, they return All-District midfielder Charly Upchurch and center mid Mary Helen Van Hoy to a team that finished 11-11-0 last season.

The Lady Flyers outscored District 1-III opponents 38-0 and advanced to the semifinals before falling to champion Vandebilt Catholic. Junior defender Lily Valiulis was named to the All-Metro team, while Loyola returns Margaret Tullis, Ainsley Stansell, Elizabeth Bryan, Rebecca Mays, Alexandra Peters, Shannon Anderson, Janie Ponthie, and Mary Kathryn Smith, all of whom were named All-District last season.

North DeSoto and Minden figure to be Loyola’s main competition this season after each fell in the first round last year.

In District 1-IV, the only local team to make the playoffs – Evangel – was ousted in the second round by district champ St. Frederick after a 10-6-2 season. St. Frederick figures to be the favorite again, but look for Evangel and Calvary – led by returning starters Allison German, Kynli Cunningham, and Bri Sample – to improve and challenge for playoff spots.

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