Something special was brewing for The Colony girls soccer program this season, and the Lady Cougars were represented all across the board on the all-district team in 8-5A.
Senior Reagan Keiser, one of the key leaders for The Colony in its run to clinching a third consecutive playoff berth, was one of the Lady Cougars’ superlative winners by earning herself defensive player of the year recognition.
With Keiser on the team, The Colony allowed just 26 goals all season long – good for a plus-34 goal differential – and 13 in 11 district games. Of those 11 district games, six were shutouts – including three straight to cap the regular season.
“She is the backbone of our team. She embodies everything we talk about,” said Tommy Ray, The Colony head coach. “The word integrity, the kid has it as a captain. When you become a senior, it’s, ‘Oh, how is this going to work.’ She’s been a captain since she was a sophomore. She’s still the first one to show up to school in the mornings. ‘Coach, what do we need? What equipment?’ Leaders, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Freshman Olivia Howard joined Keiser as a superlative winner, selected as the district’s newcomer of the year following a sensational first year at the high school level.
Howard scored 17 goals and added 12 assists to her total, giving her 46 points for the duration of the campaign.
“She is super competitive, and she always wants to be better,” Ray said. “But some players want that but don’t want to be coached, but she was so coachable for me and really just listened to what I said, trusted me. She had the talent, and that’s what a lot of players don’t realize.”
Alongside Howard and Keiser on the first team, senior Ariana August also garnered first-team distinction in her final high school season.
Ray lauded August, whose quiet leadership was integral in The Colony’s successful 2020 campaign.
“August, she’s just her,” Ray said. “She’s so quiet, but she just what she does. Like, ‘This is who I am. This is how I play.’ And if she does say something, you better listen because she doesn’t talk much. She’s like, ‘Hey, y’all need to pick it up. You better pick it up,’ because she doesn’t say much. They’re just such a tight-knit group.”
Three more Lady Cougars cracked the second team – senior Tori Cantu, sophomore Megan Gilchrist and freshman Kristen Sueltz.
“(Tori) does the dirty work that a lot of people don’t want to do, and not that she’s a dirty player, she just does those jobs that not a lot of people want to do,” Ray said. “At practice, she can kind of push some buttons and get some people mad and fired up. You need that sometimes.
“Megan Gilchrist, she is my next Keiser. She plays right next to Keiser. She’s got a magnet on her head. She will win every ball in the air. Her knees are always bloody. And she never says a word. She’s never disrespectful.
“Kristen is somebody that we kind of adjusted during that time period and changed her position, She’s another one who just wins the ball. Having Megan as a center back and Kristen as a midfielder is just constantly winning the ball. We were so just dominant with anything in the air. Both of the girls can win it in the air. Kristen has got a high IQ. She’s another one who’s I just can’t wait to see what she becomes as a senior.”
Junior center mid Jasmin Hernandez and freshman outside back Taryn Sueltz, Kristen’s sister, rounded out The Colony’s all-district nods on the honorable mention list, helping showcase a talented crop of underclassmen rolling through the program.