High school roundup: Lady Deer preparing to defend 22-5A title again
Todd McBride enjoyed a near-perfect debut last season as the Deer Park girls soccer coach.
He led the Lady Deer to a 20-4-3 overall mark, undefeated District 22-5A championship and third-round playoff berth, which is deeper than they went in former coach Aaron Leth's last season.
"I was very pleased with our first year," McBride said. "We had lost some girls the previous year so we had a lot of girls step up last year, and we just ran into a very good Clear Lake team in the (third round of the) playoffs."
McBride was the Lady Deer's third coach in four years last season, yet they claimed their sixth consecutive district title, going 13-0-1 in 22-5A matches.
"There's a ton of talent in this area, and yeah, we've been very fortunate to be able to have our district success. I credit the parents and the community for supporting the program and keeping us strong," McBride said.
"Six years winning district, that's pretty good for any team, any sport, anywhere."
The Lady Deer began preparing for Year 2 under McBride on Nov. 29, giving them three weeks of practice before the holiday break.
They used that time to get up to varsity speed and soak in more of McBride's system.
"We're going to look at changing around our formations a little bit more and experimenting a little bit," McBride said. "The girls who are returning are a lot more comfortable with me, and I'm more comfortable with them."
Only three seniors graduated: forward Kelli Camp, defender Erica Chance and midfielder Alisha Jackson. MF Hannah Cabrera and D Jordan Jenkins didn't return, but Camp is the biggest loss.
"Kelli was a great scorer for us last year and I hear she's doing really well at Navarro Junior College this year, and that will be something that we have to make up," McBride said.
Senior F Angela Melendez, who's been playing at a high level in practice, and sophomore F Brooke Erdmann, who started as a freshman, are expected to pick up the scoring slack this season.
Senior MF Haleigh Cave is another key returner.
"She did really well last year and we're expecting better things with her vision and shooting the ball to the forwards," McBride said. "She's really stepped up, too. She's one of our captains this year, and so we really expect leadership out of her."
McBride said junior D Shelby Balmer may be the most important player back.
"She's really going to be our stalwart in the back," McBride said. "She's big and fast and physical, and we're really excited to have her. She's one of the best defensive players that I've seen in a long time."
Senior MF Joselle Riojas also returns after a suffering a knee injury in the second round of the playoffs against Clear Springs. She's fully rehabbed and playing at a high level in practice.
Key newcomers include sophomore F Erika Stephens, who will rotate in on the front line, and freshman MF Hannah Booher, a standout cross country runner in the fall who also excels in soccer.
Deer Park's first scrimmage is against Brazosport at 8 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2011, at home. It also has a four-team scrimmage with Kingwood, Seven Lakes and Clear Brook at Seven Lakes.
The Lady Deer open the season Jan. 14 against Corpus Christi Ray in the Brenham tournament.
Memorial shines at Golden Triangle
The Pasadena Memorial girls finished third to lead the area contingent at the Golden Triangle Swimming Invitational at Nederland.
The Lady Mavericks tallied 215 points, finishing behind first-place Nederland (267) and second-place Beaumont West Brook (257) in the 14-team field. Sam Rayburn picked up 145 points.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Erin Graham, Chelsea MacLean, Jamie Taylor and Kayla Russell took third in 2 minutes, 36.11 seconds. Graham also was third in the 200 individual medley.
Rayburn's Shelby Daniel was fourth in the 200 freestyle.
On the boys side, Pasadena finished sixth with 60 points and Rayburn was eighth with 33.
Van Hook helping camp
Former San Jacinto College assistant and current professional scout Kyle Van Hook will lend at hand at the 2010 Holiday Baseball Camp.
L.A. Dodgers scout and former Cal State-Fullerton coach Chris Smith is directing the camp, which is for players 8 to 18 years old Dec. 29-30 at Robinson Stadium in Texas City.
The cost is $80 per camper and includes nine hours of instruction and three sessions. Each camper will be filmed and evaluated by the coaching staff.
For more information, call Van Hook at (979) 836-3573 after 6 p.m.