Just like many other Frisco ISD schools over the last 10 years or so, Memorial faced the growing pains that go along with opening a brand-new program in Class 5A.
As expected, Memorial’s first-ever athletics season a year ago did not produce many playoff teams with just the girls basketball squad reaching the postseason back in 2019.
However, the 2019-20 campaign has been a bit different with the
Warriors football team opening up their season back in August with a surprising win over powerhouse Celina.
The girls basketball team then followed that up with a 15-3 district record and another playoff berth, while the Warriors’ boys hoops program just narrowly missed a spot in the big dance.
This spring, other sports at the school were following suit with softball currently tied with Wakeland and Reedy for first place with an impressive 4-0 district record, and baseball has started red-hot early on with two straight wins over Frisco.
On the pitch, both the boys and girls soccer teams not only racked up more wins than the year prior but were well in the playoff conversation when the season came to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The girls team, led by former longtime Prosper head coach Rafael Flores, has taken a drastic leap in 2020 and needed to win just one of its final two contests against Heritage and Lebanon Trail to hold off either Wakeland or Liberty for a playoff spot.
“I was excited about the opportunity to maybe make the playoffs, but with this craziness going on in the world right now you never know what is going to happen,” Flores said. “We were in a good spot to get in, and it was just a crazy season.”
Starting a team from scratch last season was no easy task given that Flores had received his players from six different schools. Not to mention, last year’s unit did not have any seniors, which made it even more strenuous for the starters playing with very few subs while trying to build team chemistry along the way.
“The big difference going into this year was our depth,” Flores said. “At the end of last year, I only had 11 junior varsity kids and just 12 varsity kids in the last game. Also, the awkwardness had worn off in year No. 2, and the really cool thing about this group is how close they are after coming from so many different places.”
Once the offseason kicked off over the summer is when Flores began to realize that he could have something special going into this season.
That optimism picked up steam going into the start of the regular
season at the Frisco ISD Dr. Pink Tournament, but the real eye-opener came in the very first district game against a playoff-caliber opponent in Liberty.
Memorial poured in a whopping seven goals on the Lady Redhawks in a 7-2 result, which was then followed up the next day in a 1-0 defeat to the reigning district champions in Independence.
“I felt like Liberty was one of the best teams in the district and we somehow beat them 7-2, and then we played Independence very close after losing to them twice last year,” Flores said. “I’m biased, but this is the best district in the state from top to bottom. You’re going to find some other districts with some unbelievable teams, but I don’t think you’re going to see 10 teams like we have and to make the playoffs in this district is special.