Triumphant in TAPPS

Both the women’s and men’s Varsity Soccer teams marched into their 2017-2018 seasons with an optimistic outlook. This year would be their year, and TAPPS would be their conference.

The women’s team opened their season by hosting a round-robin tournament here at All Saints’ to get some preseason games under their belt. Going into district play this January, these extra games served the women’s team well. They  went 4-2 in District, losing only to the defending state champions, Grapevine Faith, twice. Coach Cassidy Acuff led the women’s program into their first visit to the playoffs since she took over the program.

“I have never been so proud of a team,” Coach Cassidy Acuff said, attributing the team’s success to their hard work and skill brought by every player on the team. “Our senior leadership set an example and the team bought a commitment to growth into Friday morning weights and they gave maximum effort during training. Our freshman really brought a new level of soccer and were an excellent addition to the core from last year. Everyone had a role and this team came together more than any other soccer team at All Saints’. This was a special season the girls worked hard to earn their spot in playoffs, for the first year in TAPPS.”

The men’s team also found success in their regular season play this year. The team went 5-1, with their only loss to Southwest Christian School, who they later defeated in another regular season game.

“Going into the season, we really didn’t know what to expect from our new District because we were competing against schools we had never played before,” Coach Gilbert Richardson, Men’s Varsity Soccer Coach, stated. “After the first game of the season against Grapevine faith, we knew that we would have a fairly good chance to make the playoffs. They beat us 4-3, but it was a good game that could have gone either way, and they were last year’s state runner-up. Our team was senior heavy so we had quite a bit of experience and leadership that was very instrumental to our success.”

After a rainy Tuesday morning bus ride down to Austin for the first round of the playoffs, the women’s soccer team stepped off the bus to face the St. Michael’s Christian Academy Crusaders. The team overcame a sizable challenge by working together to keep the field wide open for passing. St. Michael’s Christian Academy is well known both for their ability to score quickly and for their strong defense – no team was able to score on them during the regular season. The Saints secured a 2-0 win over St. Michael’s, advancing them to the second round of the playoffs.

As the number one seed going into playoffs, the men’s team was fortunate to host their first game on campus at Stevens Field. They faced off against Hyde Park, also pulling out a 2-0 victory over the Panthers, allowing them to advance to the regional playoff game.

Unfortunately for both teams, the regional playoff game failed to be all they imagined. The women’s team lost 2-4 against the Grace Community School Cougars who went into the game with a record of 19-1-2. Although the Saints didn’t come out on top, their offense stood out as they scored against the Cougars, a team that hadn’t been scored on all year. After defeating the Saints, Grace Community went on to win the State title.

The men’s team fell 0-1 to the Brighter Horizons Stars who had a record of 13-1 going into regionals. For most of the game the defensive line held off the Stars, fending off a goal until only 10 minutes remained on the clock. Brighter Horizons went on to play in the State Championship game, where they lost 0-1.

Despite their losses, both coaches expressed their excitement at what each team had accomplished throughout the season. Women’s soccer team captain, Samantha Green ’18, had encouraging words to lift up her team after the tough loss.

“We put up a good fight, and we worked our hardest,” Green said. “We didn’t give up easily, and I was glad we put a goal in first.”

Coach Acuff and Coach Richardson both agree that this season will only fuel future success.

“This season was definitely one to remember. We came into a new conference, were District champions and went all the way to the third round of playoffs,” recounted Jermaine Rucker ’18, the men’s team captain. Rucker was pleased with how his soccer career ended adding, “Not many programs can go into a new conference and win their district and advance that far. Due to the wisdom of our coach and the determination of our team, we developed throughout the season and made a statement that will last for future seasons in TAPPS.”

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