By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Tracy Russ couldn't specify what led to the Lampasas Lady Badgers' turnaround.
The first-year Lampasas girls soccer coach only knew what she saw when the season started this year.
"I know this year they came out to practice and they were eager to correct things and they were eager to play," Russ said. "I think they were just excited to get out there and win something for once."
Megan Mason, one of four seniors on the team, said hope was the difference between last year's 2-12-1 team and this year's 18-8-1 team that reached the 4A regional quarterfinals.
"I think last year, we got into a rut ... kept losing and losing and losing and nobody cared if we won or not," Mason said. "I think this year, we got some freshmen and we could see they were talented and people saw there was hope."
And hope remains.
Freshman Analise Watson was the District 34-4A newcomer of the year and one of six Lampasas freshmen and sophomores recognized on the 34-4A all-district list released Monday. Mason was the district's defensive MVP and Russ was the coach of the year.
"I'm so excited to have so many of them coming back next year and the year after," Russ said.
Freshmen Caitlyn Shaughnessy, Drew Dekort and Sam Nunnery were voted to the first team alongside sophomore captain Bailey Hilgenberg. Senior Taylor Stephens, junior Jenna Jenkins and sophomores Maria Salinas and Sierra Rash were voted to the second team.
Killeen seniors Emily DiSalvo and Nathali Perez were also first-team selections as were Salado senior Lorna Payne and Gatesville senior Shyann Waters.
DiSalvo will represent Killeen and Region III in the Senior Showcase all-start game May 12 at Southwestern in Georgetown. Killeen girls soccer coach Richard Romeo will be one of the Region III coaches for the 11 a.m. game.
Salado senior Chelsea Boaz made the second team with Killeen junior Haley Crissman and sophomore Kaitlyn McVeigh and Gatesville junior Veronica Cardenas.
Waco Midway juniors Alyssa Paschal and Cameron Carter were the district's midfielder and goalkeeper MVPs, respectively, for the district champion and 4A state finalist Pantherettes.
Lorena senior Brianna Johnston was the district MVP and teammate junior Kaitlyn Wallas was the district's offensive MVP.
GIRLS 34-4A ALL-DISTRICT TEAM
MVP - Brianna Johnston, Lorena, Sr
Midfielder - Alyssa Paschal, Waco Midway, Jr.
Offensive MVP - Kaitlyn Wallace, Lorena, Jr.
Defensive MVP - Megan Mason, Lampasas, Sr.
Goalkeeper MVP - Cameron Carter, Waco Midway, Jr.
Newcomer - Analise Watson, Lampasas, Fr.
District coach of the year - Tracy Russ, Lampasas
Shyann Waters, Gatesville, Sr.; Emily DiSalvo, Killeen, Sr.; Nathali Perez, Killeen, Sr.; Caitlyn Shaughnessy, Lampasas, Fr.; Bailey Hilgenberg, Lampasas, So.; Drew Dekort, Lampasas, Fr.; Sam Nunnery, Lampasas, Fr.; Mariah Griffin, Lorena, Sr.; Brenna Vonasek, Lorena, Jr.; Alex Warren, Lorena, Jr.; Lauren Marteney, Lorena, Sr.; Cassidy Stigliano, Lorena, Sr.;
Cassy Thompson, Robinson, Jr.; Heather Sides, Robinson, Sr.; Chasity Rockett, Robinson, Sr.; Lorna Payne, Salado, Sr.; Danielle Hardin, Waco Midway, Sr.; Madi Owen, Waco Midway, Fr.; Madi Low, Waco Midway, Jr.; Anna Dorsett, Waco Midway, Sr.; Baylee Baccus, Waco Midway, So.; Marisol Reyes, Waco Midway; Fr.
Veronica Cardenas, Gatesville, Jr.; Haley Crissman, Killeen, Jr.; Kaitlyn McVeigh, Killeen, So.; Taylor Stephens, Lampasas, Sr.; Maria Salinas, Lampasas, So.; Jenna Jenkins, Lampasas, Jr.; Sierra Rash, Lampasas, So.; Emmy Dickson, Lorena, Jr.; Lizzie Lamar, Lorena, Jr.; Cathy Arevalo, Lorena, Jr.; Karin Wolfe, Lorena, Fr.; Beth Vonasek, Lorena, Fr.; Hayley Fortson, Robinson, So.; Jesse Jaynes, Robinson, So.; Kali Branch, Robinson, So.;
Chelsea Boaz, Salado, Sr.; Brittany Carter, Waco Midway, Sr.; Janie Reyes, Waco Midway, Sr.; Cydney Waitley, Waco Midway, Sr.; Lauren Vasquez, Waco Midway, Jr.; Josey Meyer, Waco Midway, Fr.; Bailey Johnston, Waco Midway, Fr.
Killeen - Miriam Rojas; Nia Duran; Samantha Kelly; Angelina Arreaga.