The work for the 2020 season began immediately after Magnolia West’s 2019 season ended.

The Lady Mustangs had a shot at their second-ever playoff appearance, and first since 2010, on the last day of the regular season last spring. A 3-1 loss to Brenham resulted in a fifth-place finish for Magnolia West, just three points behind the Cubettes.

“That last game was a big heartbreak,” Magnolia West coach Amy Taylor said. “The next day, I had a plan for them, and we started working immediately. I told them I never wanted to see those tears again. I didn’t want to feel like I didn’t give my all for us to be successful, so we started preparing for this season the day after that heartbreak. It’s a hard-working group of girls.”

The offseason already figured to be a momentous one, given that is was Taylor’s first full offseason with the program. After coaching the Lady Mustangs for the first time last season, Taylor noted some things to work on before her second season with the program began.

“One of things that we really needed to work on was the strength and accuracy of our passes,” she said. “I was hoping for more strength in our fundamentals, and I definitely feel like we have gained that in the offseason.”

Taylor also noted that the team’s family building began quicker than it did in her first season because the player-coach relationship was already present.

One example of team unity came from returning junior Maya McCallum. At team tryouts in early December, the Sam Houston State commit made a point to welcome the newcomers.

“She’s amazing on the field, but just as amazing off the field,” Taylor said. “I’m just looking for her to lead by example. She will do whatever it takes for the entire team and never thinks that her skill is greater than anybody’s, so I’m hoping that rubs off on all.”

McCallum was the District 19-5A Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-county selection.

“For our team, (McCallum) was voted as the best teammate (last season), and I think that speaks volumes about her as a player and a teammate,” Taylor said. “I want her to use that now to help lead with confidence, to know that her skills and her demeanor as a teammate are both very valuable to the team.”

Seniors Brooke Brown and Fany Bocanegra return in the defensive third for the Lady Mustangs. Taylor says both players could be key contributors offensively, but play defensive roles instead, something for which the coach is very grateful.

Brown was a first-team all-county and all-district player as a junior. Bocanegra received an all-state honorable mention from the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches and was second-team all-district.

Magnolia West will once again compete in District 19-5A along with rival Magnolia, A&M Consolidated, Brenham, Bryan Rudder, College Station, Katy Paetow and Waller.

College Station, A&M Consolidated and Magnolia joined Brenham in the playoffs last season. College Station advanced to the third round, and the other three teams lost in the first round.

jmaskulinski@hcnonline.com

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/moco/sports/article/GIRLS-SOCCER-Magnolia-West-enters-season-14929887.php