The Colts made history last season, qualifying for state for the first time since the school opened in 2011. But coach Eric Parker — whose boys team lost to Oconee County in the opening round of the Class 3A tournament — isn’t patting his team on the back.
Instead, he is increasing the challenge.
After losing just one starter from last year’s 12-6-1 team, the Colts — who have eight seniors — have added teams like Buford, Murray County and Northwest to their schedule.
“We are much more experienced, especially with the senior students now starting for their third year,” said Parker, who’s also excited about the addition of a junior varsity team this season. “We have decided to play a tougher schedule and the expectations are much higher.”
Midfielder Sadoth Fraire and striker Pedro Garcia are both seniors and will key the offensive attack. Fraire led the team with 14 assists in 2013, while Garcia was the leading scorer with 27 goals. Defensively, junior goalkeeper Missael Fraire allowed just 14 goals in 18 regular-season games. All three were members of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Boys Soccer Team last season.
The Lady Colts went 6-12 last season and have seven returning starters. LaDawn McClary has taken over as head coach of the team, but she is also a basketball assistant coach and Parker has been running preseason drills in her absence. Parker led both programs last season.
“They are improving and further along at this point this year than they were last year,” Parker said. “The record should be improved and they are talking more about playoffs and that is the expectation we have put on the girls. It has created a better work ethic.”
Sophomore goalie Melissa Cabrera will return in net to lead the defense. Senior Melody Pacheco and Ella Triplett — a mid-year transfer from New York — will patrol the midfield. Junior striker Regina Pacheco will key the offense.
“They are a better team this year,” Parker said. “Our passing is cleaner than it was last year, and our practices are cleaner. We are still trying to build with a lot of young players, but we think we have a better chance to win a lot more games.”
Coahulla Creek opens its season Monday against visiting Murray County, with the girls playing at 5 and the boys playing at 7.