Vandegrift girls soccer parents are already joking that Texas State is turning into Vandegrift south.
Jessica Pikoff, Holly Streber and Kayla Streber will all take their talents to San Marcos beginning next season. After next season, two more of the Lady Vipers will join the trio in the Bobcat soccer program.
“It’s really neat as a coach that they’re not only going to continue their careers but continue their careers together,” Vandegrift head coach Jen Hardy said. “They’ll have that intrinsic camaraderie and connection from playing in high school.”
The Lady Vipers made it to the state tournament for the third time in four years this season, falling to Katy Tompkins 3-2 in the state semifinal.
Some of the seniors were freshmen when the Lady Vipers won a state title in 2014 and Hardy has been in charge since Vandegrift opened in 2009. She said there’s no way to rank the state tournament teams because the only thing in common is the attitude of the teams.
“They’re all different,” Hardy said. “Ranking them wouldn’t be fair because they’re all different in the intangibles that got them there in the first place. The common thread was getting the team tone to focus as (a group) versus (individuals). That’s something you try to do everywhere, but that’s hard to achieve.”
The Lady Vipers’ defense was outstanding this season, giving up more than one goal in just two of 25 games this season. They had 12 shutouts and conceded 12 goals all year and just five in district play.
Offensively, seniors led the way. The top three goalscorers were fourth-year players as Grace Erdman finished with 13 goals, Sarah Mahosky had 10 and Gabby Nixon added eight. Mahosky lead the team with nine assists and Erdman chipped in with seven.
“The seniors that are leaving have left an impact as to what it means to be a leader,” Hardy said. “Five seniors had been at two state tournaments and the other five were hungry to get there. They led with that mindset.”
But the future is partially unknown as well.
Lonestar SC, a soccer development academy in Austin, recently announced they would be opening an academy for girls’ soccer affiliated with the U.S. Soccer development academy. One of the requirements for playing with Lonestar SC is the athletes choose between the academy and high school.
Austin is a soccer-rich area. Along with the Lady Vipers, Rouse girls’ soccer team and Hendrickson also advanced to the state tournament this year, with Hendrickson winning the Class 6A title earlier this month.
As a district, LISD has been represented at the state tournament every year since 2009.
There are a lot of high schools in the area that are unsure what their teams will look like next season. But there will continue to be a soccer program, and Hardy said there is still plenty of talent to field a successful team.
“We will still have a number of girls in the program and we will have a lot of solid soccer players,” Hardy said. “We have a talented group coming up from seventh and eighth grade. We have a bright future.”