The first couple of weeks of high school soccer are always a feeling-out period, and that’s no different for multi-time champions than it is for new programs.
A couple of Kilgore standouts – Emma Taylor and Tray Epps – picked up right where they left off in 2019.
Both Kilgore teams had their first action of the 2020 season over the weekend – Kilgore’s Lady Bulldogs faced Nacogdoches and came out with a 1-all tie on Friday, then beat bigger-classification Lufkin, 2-1, on Saturday.
Coach Todd BonDurant’s Lady ‘Dogs are competing in a tournament in Keller this weekend, and it begins Thursday – for Kilgore (1-0-1), that means facing Killeen Ellison at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, at Timbercreek High School’s field. They’ll play Mesquite at 2:30 on Friday.
In the tie with Nac, Kilgore took a 1-0 lead, but let the Lady Dragons knot it up. “We let them hang out,” said BonDurant, in his first year at KHS, but an old hat at watching Kilgore soccer – from the opposing sideline. He’s had stops at Spring Hill and at Tatum.
Taylor scored Kilgore’s goal off an assist by Zoe Craven. BonDurant starts longtime KHS senior goalkeeper Sarah Loomis, but he was able to also get Michelle Garcia some time in-goal, as well.
In Saturday’s win over Lufkin, the Lady ‘Dogs never trailed. “We put one in quick in the second half,” BonDurant said, another goal by Taylor. Then, Cristina Rosas scored off a corner kick by Laramie Cox.
Overall, BonDurant said, a good experience for the first two games – a learning experience.
“Nac kind of exposed some things for us,” he said. “They were a little more physical than we were. Lufkin had a lot of speed. We saw early on that we needed to make some changes. Now, I think we’re getting people where they need to be, and we’re set.”
The Bulldogs were busy over the weekend, too, competing in a tournament at the newly-refurbished, now-with-turf Tomato Bowl in Jacksonville.
Coach Tom Wait’s Bulldogs also ran into Nac, and had an early lead, but it evaporated, into a 3-2 loss.
“We had a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes left in the game,” Wait said, “and we had a few defensive mishaps.”
Kilgore also lost to Jacksonville, 2-1, after having a 1-0 lead.
In the loss to Nac, Epps and Luis Martinez both scored for KHS. Epps then scored in the second half in the loss to Jacksonville.
Kilgore bounced back in a big way Saturday, dealing Bullard a 5-0 loss. Epps scored four of Kilgore’s goals. Wayna McIntyre had a goal, as well. Danny Estrella and Justin Cedillo split the shutout in-goal.
Kilgore’s boys junior varsity also got a nice win over the weekend, beating New Summerfield, 2-1, and they’re now 2-2.
The Bulldogs are in Palestine’s Wildcat Invitational on Thursday, taking on Waco La Vega at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, and then Mexia at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Kilgore plays Ennis on Friday and will get a rematch with Nac on Saturday.