Celina girls soccer

Celina’s girls soccer team has had plenty to celebrate during an unbeaten start to the season.

Since having a promising 2020 campaign cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Celina girls soccer team has made up for lost time this season.

The Lady Bobcats exited the week undefeated at 11-0, including a 4-0 start to their District 11-4A schedule. Celina is currently ranked No. 3 in Class 4A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and has looked the part behind some of the gaudiest numbers in the program’s short history.

Through 11 matches, the Lady Bobcats have scored 105 goals and have only allowed seven. Averaging 9.5 goals on the year, Celina has won every match by at least three goals and has posted double-digit goals scored five times this season. 

The team’s high mark is 18 goals in a Jan. 8 non-district bout against Wichita Falls Hirschi. The Lady Bobcats have carried that firepower into district play, currently in the midst of a stretch where they have scored in double figures in three of their past four matches.

Head coach Steve Nichols’ squad is paced on the attack by junior Taylor Zdrojewski, who already has 46 goals on the year alongside nine assists. Zdrojewski is averaging 4.2 goals per match, and Nichols said that she is both a candidate for Gatorade Player of the Year and a recent recipient of the MaxPreps/United Soccer Coaches Player of the Week honor.

Zdrojewski joins senior and co-captain Emma Short — Star Local Media’s 2020 all-area offensive player of the year — who has 17 goals and 13 assists as part of a productive campaign. Other Lady Bobcats stuffing the stat sheet include senior co-captain and Ouachita Baptist commit Ashlyn Vana at 10 goals and 21 assists, sophomore forward Lexi Luite (15 goals, nine assists), and sophomore midfielder and defender Mia Norman (seven goals, five assists). Nichols noted that Norman is the program’s best player at changing the point of attack that he can recall during his tenure at Celina.

The Lady Bobcats have been just as stout on defense, despite breaking in a new goalkeeper in sophomore Hannah Buller. The team has allowed just seven goals all season and shut out seven opponents. Senior Grace Griffis, sophomore Madison Hagenbrock and freshmen Brookelyn Babb and Makenna Brantley have been among the contributors on the Celina back line.

It’s all coalesced into a year that has the makings of perhaps the best in program history. The Lady Bobcats have already dwarfed their goal-scoring production from 2020 of 58 goals. Celina’s district hasn’t had much of an answer so far, as the Lady Bobcats have outscored the quartet of Nevada Community, Caddo Mills, Quinlan Ford and Farmersville by a combined margin of 43-1.

Nichols anticipates Melissa offering the biggest test for his Lady Bobcats in conference play. The two are ranked atop the region and are scheduled to square off Wednesday in Melissa and March 19 in Celina.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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