FRISCO WAKELAND BOYS SOCCER

Wakeland hit the turn in first place in 9-5A with an undefeated 9-0-0 record.

Wakeland has been the standard among Frisco ISD boys soccer teams for the last decade.

The Wolverines captured their first state championship in 2010 and that started a run that saw them make 10 consecutive playoff appearances, seven regional tournaments and six trips to the state tournament, including four straight from 2016-2019 that were highlighted by adding state title trophies in 2017 and 2018.

Wakeland was poised to add to that pedigree a season ago, when it was highly ranked in the regional and state polls, but like all teams, never got that chance when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the playoffs.

A quick look at the Wolverines’ senior-laden roster from a year ago might lead one to believe this could be the season that another FISD squad rises to the top.

But a program does not build a resume like Wakeland’s without being able to reload and they have done just that to once again ascend to the top of the 9-5A standings heading into the second half of the season.

As usual, this is not a one-team district, as nearly every team is still in the hunt for a playoff berth and four teams are ranked in the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Class 5A Region 2 poll.

Here is a look at the district field:

Wakeland (9-0-0, 27 points)

The Wolverines had 10 players named to the all-district team last season and graduated all of them, including offensive player of the year Mark Borbonus and midfield player of the year Todd Fuller.

Yet one month into the season, here Wakeland sits with an unblemished 10-0 overall record during which it has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 43-6.

In its most recent outing, a 6-1 victory over Lebanon Trail on Tuesday, junior Brennan Bezdek tallied four goals, with seniors Juan Ardila and Marlon Williams also finding the back of the net. Junior Ryan Greener had a pair of assists, with juniors William Heidman and Jason Young also setting up scores.

While Bezdek has emerged as the top goal scorer, Wakeland has gotten scoring from a multitude of different players in recent matches, including seniors Garret Purcell, Jak Keith, Braden Shuey, Ardila and Wiilliams and juniors Greener, Heidman, Young and Riley Garza.

As always, the Wolverines defense has been a wall thus far, posting five shutouts and the penalty kick goal it allowed against Lebanon Trail was the first score it had yielded since Jan. 19.

Frisco (6-2-1, 19)

Frisco was in second place a year ago and primed to make a playoff run when the season was halted.

This season, the Raccoons, who are ranked eighth in the TASCO regional poll, moved into sole possession of second place after a key 2-1 win over Centennial on Tuesday.

It was a particularly gratifying win considering the goals came from seniors Ricky Casso and Matt Diaz, two players who missed all of last season with injuries.

Because of injuries and a big graduating class that included co-defensive player of the year Matt Kendrick and utility player of the year Shane Anderson, Frisco started the season with only eight players who finished last year on the roster.

But this group has come together to find early success.

Sophomore Diego Pepi has emerged as one of the area’s top scorers, with 14 goals and four assists, including 11 goals in district.

The defense has also been stout, led by senior goalkeeper Aidan Pham, a first-team all-district selection last season who has recorded four shutouts with three new defenders in front of him.

Others have stepped up, as well, including senior defender Shirzaad Ghadially, who has also made an impact on offense with six goals and four assists, and junior forward Danny Agui, who has three goals and five assists playing alongside Pepi.

Reedy (5-3-1, 16)

The Lions endured some struggles last season and they have a new head coach in Jeremy Roberts, but the transition has been a smooth one, and they have been one of the surprise stories of the first half as they sit in third place.

Reedy has gotten offense from several different players, led by senior Isaac Sanchez with five goals and senior Aiden Cumbie with four goals and a team-high eight assists. Junior Kyle Jordan scored his second goal in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Independence and junior Xander Naguib (2 goals,  4 assists), junior Creighton Schmidt (3 goals, assist) and junior Erik Barr (2 goals) have also made a scoring impact.

With a new coach and system, the Lions are still learning and improving. And while they are alone in third place right now, but there are a number of teams right on their heels, which is why they are not looking too far ahead and focusing at the next game on the schedule.

Liberty (4-2-3, 15)

The Redhawks are in the thick of the race after a 3-3 draw against Lone Star on Tuesday, where they got a pair of goals from Owen Butcher and another from Jack Bryan.

The goal by Bryan was his team-leading seventh of the season to go along with a pair of assists. Ashton Schramek has four goals and four assists, Thomas Garofalo has tallied a pair of scores and two assists and both have key roles on the defense in front of keeper Luke Berry, who has posted three shutouts and has a 0.79 goals against average.

A Liberty starting lineup that includes eight juniors has been improving and recently put together an impressive stretch where it rallied with two goals in the final five minutes to pull out a 2-1 win over second-place Frisco, and followed that up with a 2-0 blanking of third-place Reedy.

Centennial (4-3-2, 14)

The Titans, who are ranked No. 3 in the TASCO 5A Region 2 poll, have been involved in a number of close games, as every match has been decided by two goals or less with the exception of a 3-0 loss to Wakeland.

Senior Max Flaviani has a team-high six goals, while junior Frederic Lenglart and sophomore Andres Arrangoiz rank among the leaders in assists.

Senior goalkeepers Mason Kennard and Matthew Leal have split time and both been effective in net, senior Muturi Mwangi was a first-team all-district selection last season and Centennial has also gotten a boost from the play of freshmen Jad Le and Zane Sullivan.

Lebanon Trail (3-3-3, 12)

The Trail Blazers are right in the thick of the playoff race after enduring some struggles last season.

Lebanon Trail has done so despite facing some adversity, losing a pair of starters to season-ending injuries and having several others miss time due to being banged up.

The Trail Blazers have some punch up front, led by junior Sebastian Ramirez, who has four goals and four assists, but the strength has been their defense, led by seniors Kamran Salarian and Gabe Barnes, junior Matthieu Pillot and freshman Jason Wynia, who has also flashed some offensive skill with a pair of goals.

Independence (3-3-3, 12)

The Knights are another team that has played a number of close matches and earning points in those future games will determine their playoff fate.

The Independence defense has been solid, with a strong line and the play of sophomore goalkeeper Akshar Jothi.

The Knights have gotten offensive contributions from a number of different players thus far, including Thato Meko, Phillipe Fernandes, Reggie Bush, Justin Ajdukovich, Viraaj Veeramachaneni, Sean Avery and Caleb Walker.

Heritage (1-6-2, 5)

The Coyotes endured a tough first half with several close losses, but took out some of their frustrations with a 4-1 win over Memorial on Tuesday.

Patricio Altamirano tallied a pair of goals, Jorge Torres had a goal and an assist, Ziyaan Momin scored and Nicholas Lima Custodio added an assist.

Altamirano, a junior, leads the team with eight goals and a pair of assists on the season, while Torres, a sophomore, has five goals and two assists.

Heritage has also gotten contributions from senior Parker Garza (3 goals, 3 assists), sophomore Collins Aladekugbe (2 goals, 1 assist), sophomore Jacob Culpepper (2 goals, 1 assist), Momin (1 goal, 1 assist) and freshman Omar Solorzano (1 goal, 2 assists).

Memorial (1-7-1, 4)

The Warriors were ranked in the TASCO Region 2 preseason poll, as they expected to return a quartet of all-district performers in juniors Sam Davis, Berin Droemer, R.J. Madet and Gianluca Pedroso.

Though Memorial needs to make up ground, it has been close in several matches and has only been shut out once all season long.

Sophomore Victor Hernandez has emerged as a top goal scorer and the Warriors have also gotten offense from seniors Noah Penner, Blake Riddle and Sevin Stafford and juniors Alex Gonzales and Zion Martey.

Lone Star (0-7-2, 2)

The Rangers endured a rough first half, but they are better than their record shows thus far, as they showed on Tuesday by earning a 3-3 draw against Liberty.

Junior Aubry Eason was last year’s district newcomer of the year and along with sophomore Alex Gonzalez are the team’s leading scorers.

Among the other players to watch thus far are seniors Daniel Silva, Ayoub Azizi and Will Schlotz and junior Blake Humphrey.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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