Anthony Patti

Lake Dallas senior Anthony Patti scored three goals in Thursday’s 3-0 win for the Falcons against Little Elm.

Lake Dallas’ boys soccer team finished the non-district schedule last season without a win. The Falcons needed just one game to atone for those setbacks.

Senior Anthony Patti scored three goals in Lake Dallas’ 3-0 win over Little Elm on Thursday, while junior Harley Fuller earned a shutout in his debut at goalkeeper. Junior Griffin Denehie and senior Adrian Garcia assisted on two of Patti’s goals. The third goal was an own goal.

“The defense was able to get the shutout, but we still have some work to do,” said Brandon Martin, Lake Dallas head coach. “We had a good mix of new and returning players that have the ability to play some good soccer, but we have to be a little more patient and confident with the ball.”

But, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for the Falcons.

Lake Dallas (1-0) started last season with eight consecutive losses to finish 0-8-0 in non-district games.

Once district play got underway, it was complete domination by the Falcons.

Lake Dallas never lost a district game by going 8-0-3 in that portion of the schedule while clinching a second consecutive 8-5A crown.

The Falcons allowed just 10 goals in 11 district games – five fewer than anyone else in the district – and had an astounding plus-19 goal differential, which was 11 more than any other team in 8-5A.

Meanwhile, Martin was tabbed as a co-coach of the year with Little Elm’s Aaron Ziehm, which marked the second consecutive year Martin received that distinction.

In the past two seasons, Lake Dallas has reached unprecedented heights under Martin. The Falcons have won back-to-back district titles, gone 18-0-5 in district contests and made a trip to the regional finals in 2019.

Lake Dallas has had to retool some of its roster due to losses to graduation. Gone are reigning District 8-5A Co-Most Valuable Player Brock Pope (13 goals, six assists as a senior), who is now playing soccer for Bradley University, and two-time Goalkeeper of the Year Kaleb Irving, currently a freshman for Concordia University’s men’s soccer team. Fuller filled Irving’s shoes quite well on opening night against Little Elm.

The Falcons do have their fair share of returners, according to MaxPreps.com. That list is led by Patti, a reigning first-team district selection who led the team with 17 goals, in addition to Garcia (8-5A first-team selection as a junior), junior Preston Gregg (first team) and senior Brennan Thiessen (second team). Sophomore midfielder Gabe Despain also returns for the Falcons.

Newcomers who are expected to log playing time are Griffin Denehie, Harley Fuller, Luan Le and Chase Villareal.

Lake Dallas is slated to return to the pitch at 7 p.m. Monday at R.L. Turner. It will be the last game before the Christmas break for the Falcons. Lake Dallas’ next game won’t be until Jan. 5 when the Falcons will travel to Trophy Club for a showdown with Byron Nelson.

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