fter never reaching the playoffs be-fore, Head Coach Israel Stephens helped guide the Indians to back-to-back postseason appearances in 2011 and 2012.In 2013, the Indians were under the di-rection of a new coach while Stephens was at another school. He hopes that by return-ing to his alma mater he can once again lead them into playoff contention, even after a 1-16-3 season a year ago.There are not a lot of returning players for the Indians this season, but there are re-turners at key positions.Gabriel Favela, a four-year player for the Indians, returns at forward and Alejandro Mendoza returns at keeper. Defender Erick Garcia is the only other returning starter, giving the Indians a leader with experience at three of four positions.Other players that will be expected to step up are defender Juan Garcia, midelder Carlos Padilla and midelder Nestor Al-varado.While Stephens notes tness and work rate as team strengths, the team has a long way to go to get to where it was a couple years ago.“In order for us to compete for a play-off spot we have to improve defensively,” he said. “And we have to nd ways to get goals.”The Indians nd themselves in a tough-er district than they did during their run of playoff appearances with the additions of Stephenville and Kennedale.“Playing in this district helps prepare you for the speed of play and the overall pace we’ll see in the playoffs,” Stephens said.This is the last year Alvarado will be in a district with the likes of Cleburne, Joshua and Granbury, but Stephens does not believe things will be easier just because of a new classication.“Our goals will remain the same — to improve and compete for district and state championships,” he said. “We have to be good regardless of size. We’ve been very competitive in 4A in the past and we’ll have to get to that level again to compete at the level we want, regardless of classication.”
— Tommy Brown
fter a string of four consecu-tive playoff appearances, the Lady Indian soccer team took a step back last year when it was put in a district that included perennial playoff contenders such as Cleburne, Joshua, Granbury, Stephenville and Kenne-dale.The Lady Indians went 6-16 and missed the playoffs in the tougher district, but Coach Ryan O’Donnell is hoping for a fresh start — but with several of the same faces.Only three graduated off of last year’s team, two of which moved on to play college soccer.“In order for us to compete for a playoff spot we have to have good team chemistry,” O’Donnell said. “The girls have to be willing to work hard for it all year. I believe that we are capable of doing well, it will just take a few wins and the girls believing in themselves.”Of the returning starters, Ira Guard-ian, Keely Crowder, Luisa Quintana and Raigan Hester will be relied on to provide leadership. Crowder and Hes-ter have played on the varsity for their entire high school careers.Newcomers for the Lady Indi-ans will include Sydney Summers and Jessica Cornejo. Summers has a chance to be a playmaker as a fresh-man after scoring all four goals in a scrimmage win over Dallas Spruce. Cornejo will be most valuable to the Lady Indians’ mideld with her ball control skills, but O’Donnell believes she has the ability to develop into a forward as well.This will be the last year Alvarado plays in a district with the likes of Cle-burne, Joshua and Granbury as begin-ning in 2015 there will be three clas-sications for soccer instead of two.“I wish we could play in a more even district as far as the number of 3A teams but this will only prepare us for when we do play in a 3A district next year,” O’Donnell said. “With that being said, I believe we will continue to improve on our win total this sea-son and I do think we could surprise a couple teams by the time district comes along.”
— Tommy Brown
Alvarado hopes for quick return to playoffs
Lady Indians looking for rebound season
Photo by Tommy Brown
Senior Gabriel Favela is one of only three returners for the Indians.
Photo by Tommy Brown
Keely Crowder is one of several key returning players for the Lady Indians.