By Bailey Poer—
The Stephenville High School girls Honeybee Soccer team is building a reputation as a powerhouse soccer team. The Honeybees clinched their second AAAA state title in three years.
The team included Overall Most Valuable Player (MVP), Ciara Johnston; Offensive MVP, Gracie Bales; Midfielder MVP, Beatris Chavarria; Defensive MVP, Madison Wywy and; Coach of the Year, Casey Weil, according to The Flash Today. Along with MVP honors, the Honeybees had four players named to first team All-District including Haleigh Beam, Claire Choate, Madelyn Heupel and Courtney Langley. Alyssa Northcutt, Daisy Richards, Emily Kirbo and Cody Hawks were named to second team All-District. Honorable Mention honorees were Cheney Carillo, Brinkley Harlow and Bailie Atchley.
Coach Weil described the team as “self-motivated”.
“We won it in 2017 and I thought we were the best team in 2018 and things just didn’t go our way in the regional tournament,” he said. “They just came in at the very beginning of school and you could just tell a difference in the girls from other years.”
As far as preparation of the team, Weil, who is also a part of the SHS football coaching staff, incorporates an ample amount of running and weightlifting during offseason, allowing the girls to be bigger, better, stronger and faster than the other teams.
Weil’s main focus leading up to the state tournament was to keep the girls injury-free and “fresh.” He knew going into the state championship game that if the Honeybees could contain one of Liberty Hill’s players, who has committed to Texas Christian University, that the team would be setting themselves up for great success.
“I am just proud of the people that they are,” Coach Weil said, “This bunch of girls is very special. A lot of these girls won the State Championship as freshman in 2017, and then to come back and win it again as a junior it would be very easy to become big-headed. These girls have been very humble, and it just shows what kind of character they have.”
Eight freshmen had playing time on the State Championship team in 2017, and 16 members of that team were a part of this year’s winning team. The difference in the two teams Weil feels is in 2017 the coaching staff knew the talent was there but did not know how far they would go. In this team, the pressure and the expectations are tangible because of the success the team has had. Weil believes one of the key components as far as the soccer program goes along with handling the pressure is that the girls have fun playing the game.
“I truly believe if you were to ask those girls how do you feel about soccer they would reply that it is fun, and they truly enjoy playing,” he said. “That is one of the main things for me. If it is fun to them, then they are going to play their tails off for you.”
Nerves, of course, are apparent when going into the state tournament. With playing and going to school, Weil feels his girls are able to avoid being too nervous leading up to the tournament.
“For me, I’m nervous for my girls because they’ve worked so hard and come so far,” he said. “You don’t want to see them come up short.”
However, when the clock ticked down the last five minutes of the game, the feeling of reassurance overcame knowing that team had the win secured. The dynamic of coaching both boys’ football and girls’ soccer are a unique one for Weil.
“You sit there with the boys and they just have a different mentality,” he said. “With the girls, you have to gain their trust, you have to show them that you truly care, and once they know you truly care they will do anything for you. That’s what I enjoy about coaching, the wins and state championships are just icing on the cake, but to gain those relationships and have those girls truly know you care about them is what I enjoy the most about coaching the girls.”
Weil expressed the responsibility
that comes with being so successful to his players.
“I hope that these girls continue to represent Stephenville well,” he said. “They know that with winning, comes responsibility along with opportunity.”
The Honeybees will be returning a majority of their players next season. With the core that the team has built, Coach Weil feels the Honeybees will be set up for success for seasons to come.