Since George Kelley took over the Magnolia boys soccer program three seasons ago, the Bulldogs have been making significant strides. Steady improvement guided the team to the doorstep of the playoffs last spring.
Now the players are ready to join the postseason fun.
Magnolia narrowly missed out on a spot last year after tying Waller for fourth place in District 19-5A. The head-to-head goals-against differential went to Waller by just one tally, which left Magnolia out of the playoffs.
The team finished its campaign with a 6-6-5 overall record. The Bulldogs have not qualified for the postseason since 2013, but the returning players are looking to finally buck that trend and make some noise.
“It sucks to see, especially when you have a group of guys that fought all year long,” Kelley said. “But we have a lot of those same guys coming back, and they’ve got a little bit of a chip on their shoulder because of how everything played out last year. They’re all excited, and it’s really easy to motivate this group of guys to be ready to go.”
The Bulldogs have some new faces on the roster, but they will rely heavily on a large, talented senior class. Kelley believes the mix of younger players and established standouts will create a healthy team dynamic.
“It helps a lot because the older guys are really patient with the younger ones,” Kelley said. “The younger guys are wanting to get better, and the seniors — especially since they were so close last year — they love that, and they want to teach them everything. They’re always motivating them and encouraging them, and it’s been really good for that younger group.”
Leading the way is senior midfielder Cade Knox, who was the Bulldogs’ lone first-team All-District 19-5A selection last year. Also returning are Juan Meza and Cristian Mejia — also members of that senior class that will carry the load.
“They’ve all been here, and they’ve been on that stage for a couple years now,” Kelley said. “They know what to expect, they know what that pace of the game is, and those are the guys that need to lead. I’m also excited to see what these young guys can do when they come in because they haven’t let the stage scare them yet. I’m excited to see what they look like.”
Magnolia will once again have a tough district to battle with. The Bulldogs will go another round with Waller, College Station, A&M Consolidated, Katy Paetow, Brenham, Bryan Rudder and crosstown rival Magnolia West.
“This district is tough,” Kelley said. “Katy Paetow, you see them last year with nothing but freshmen and sophomores on the team, and they were a team that could move the ball around. They’re very technical, and they’re very well-coached, and they are going to be a nightmare to deal with this year. Magnolia West always has a solid team, A&M Consoli... Click here to read full article