COPPELL COWBOYS SOCCER 2022
Coppell Cowboys Seniors 2022!!!
March 26, 2022
McKINNEY – Coppell coach James Balcolm, through this momentous season for the Coppell boys soccer team, spoke often about the law of averages: his simple belief that with the number of opportunities the Cowboys were creating, they must eventually start to go in and average out their losing record.
Balcolm was proven correct; the Cowboys, after losing or tying its first eight district matches, at the bottom of District 6-6A standings, would take five consecutive wins to qualify for the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs against Allen at McKinney ISD Stadium on Friday.
However, the clock ran out for the Cowboys before the averages could balance themselves out against the Eagles. Coppell fell to the Eagles, 2-0, ending its season, 7-9-6.
“Loss is always painful but the last one just sucks the most,” Balcolm said. “It shows their resilience and their fight to stage this comeback, and go toe-to-toe with Allen in the first round of playoffs. This group overcame everything and they put themselves in a place to get a chance to beat the best team in the state.”
Coppell arrived with momentum it carried for the past five matches from its kickoff, creating opportunities play by play. The first of these was junior midfielder Ryder Brock’s shot to the goalpost with 23 remaining minutes in the first half. Though Brock’s shot hit the post without finding the net, the Cowboys were in control.
Yet Allen, District 5-6A champions with a fierce, young team, responded. While Coppell created opportunities, the Eagles created a magnificent play: a free kick from junior midfielder Dylan Berry went precisely to senior midfielder Diego Morales, then perfectly past Coppell senior goalkeeper Arath Valdez.
“Unfortunately, that goal was enough tonight,” Balcolm said. “We battled hard. I know the boys know that.”
Though the Eagles would keep this lead through the match, the score by no means reflected the continual Coppell fight. Allen’s defense struggled to fight off a set piece off corner kicks, while Allen goalkeeper Alec Setterberg defended against free kicks from Stone, sophomore midfielder Sam Stone and Coppell junior midfielder Preston Taylor.
“That first half was one of the best we ever played,” Taylor said. “We worked so hard down to the last minute.”
Still, the Cowboys’ earlier season plague followed them throughout the match, as each of the many opportunities went just wide, just over or safe into the arms of Setterberg. Only in the 80th minute was it over for the Cowboys, fighting through the end, as Allen junior midfielder Evan Pustejovsky sank a shot deep to the net. With most of the team on the opposite goal, worn-out by 80 minutes of back and forth, no Cowboys were able to return and defend.
“The ending was ruthless,” Coppell senior midfielder Pedro Peréz-Pareja said. “They were huge; we had nobody over six feet on our team, while they were all physical, their whole starting lineup over six foot.”
Allen advances to play Irving in the Class 6A Region I area playoffs, while the Cowboys end their season.
“All year, it started off that we couldn’t get the win, we couldn’t get the goal,” Balcom said. “We probably created over a 100 scoring opportunities and they’re not going in so eventually, they’ve somehow got to start going in. And a couple finally did. Law of averages started to work out. Same thing goes tonight. We’re hitting the post, all over the goal, and the keeper is making saves. Just didn’t work out with the clock tonight. But we knew we were doing everything right to beat the top team in the state tonight.”
Follow Anjali (@anjalikrishna_) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.
MARCH 25, 2022
On Feb. 18, the night the Coppell boys soccer team lost 6-2 to Plano, a realization came to the Cowboys: if they continued to play as they were, their season would end without a shot at making a playoff run.
Four days later, Coppell senior midfielder Walker Stone put up a hat trick against Plano West that would change the tides of his team’s season, from luck to formation to mentality, leading his team to five consecutive wins and into the bi-district playoffs.
The Cowboys play Allen (9-1-2) tonight at 8 p.m. at McKinney ISD Stadium.
“We know they’re going to be playing really hard, really physical,” Coppell senior goalkeeper Arath Valdez said. “We’re going to be giving it back to them. We get lazy with finishing and tackles sometimes, but we’ll keep that in check.”
Allen is led by senior center Ayden Mendoza, and though it graduated 19 seniors last year, the Eagles ended its regular season as District 5-6A champion, letting in only five goals throughout. Allen is notably missing senior forward Matthew Sanchez, according to Coppell coach James Balcolm, which the Cowboys hope to capitalize on.
While a new formation with an additional midfielder on the field and new striker in sophomore forward Gareth Murillo have propelled Coppell, a united mentality and simple law of averages brought the Cowboys to its fourth place finish in District 6-6A.
“We’ve been playing the playoff game since the Plano game,” Valdez said. “It was win or go home and we had to win everything to go to the playoffs. We’ve been winning and winning and winning and we worked hard to get to this playoff game, so we’re in it to win.”
MARCH 6, 2022
On Friday, the Coppell boys soccer team defeated Lewisville, 2-1 at Buddy Echols Field. A goal by sophomore forward Gareth Murillo was the difference in ensuring a Coppell win.
“The last goal made by [Murillo] was a very important one for us,” Coppell assistant Abu Conteh said. “It came off a rebound shot and he put it away.”
Coppell sophomore center midfielder Sam Stone and right midfielder Pedro Perez-Pareja were key players in the match, with Perez-Pareja scoring the first goal of the game during the first half.
“We knew from the last away game we played against Lewisville that we had to work hard today,” Perez-Pareja said. “Lewisville puts a lot of players in the midfield, so we did the same to take them on.”
After losing 3-1 at Lewisville on Feb. 8, Friday’s match allowed the Cowboys to use what they knew about Lewisville’s playing style to create a better playing strategy.
“We got our first goal early on, which put us in a good position in the game,” Stone said. “Lewisville is really fast and gets a lot of long balls, but we were able to shut them down.”
For the Cowboys, Friday’s game was about matching Lewisville’s techniques while maintaining a strong lead.
“Lewisville presses well, so it’s hard to beat them,” Conteh said. “[The Cowboys] went after the ball and pressed well, so their hard work really paid off.”
Prior to Friday’s match, the Cowboys celebrated its seniors during the annual Senior Night ceremony. Today’s Senior Night honored 19 total seniors, with 17 of them being varsity players.
Coppell plays at Plano East on Tuesday, needing a win to remain in playoff contention.
Follow Yaamini (@yjois12) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.
Coppell senior left wing Ethan Frieder walks out with his family during senior night at Buddy Echols Field on Friday. The Cowboys won, 2-1. (Olivia Short)
Coppell Boys Soccer Fundraiser 2021 - Thanks for all that donated. Your donations will help develop the boys soccer program as we prepare for State!!
Congrats to these Cowboy players for making both A and A/B Honor Roll!! Making a difference in the classroom and on the field!