Highland Park’s upset loss to Frisco Wakeland in last season’s Class 5A Region II final might still be lingering in the minds of the Lady Scots’ coaches and players. But if so, they aren’t saying as much.
“We haven’t talked about it at all,” said head coach Stewart Brown. “We’re very much an internally motivated team. The girls know the standard that has been set for them.”
The overtime defeat cost HP a chance at back-to-back undefeated seasons, a second consecutive state title, and a third trip to the state tournament in four years. It also was the final game for 17 graduating seniors from perhaps the most talented class in program history.
However, with only three starters returning, Brown said this is not a rebuilding year for the Lady Scots.
“The mindset in our camp is that we’re as good as any of our teams we’ve had since 2012,” Brown said. “It’s a new group and a different team as far as personnel and how we’re going to play.”
HP will benefit from the return of Presley Echols, the junior striker who already is verbally committed to the University of Texas. Echols led HP in scoring in each of the past two years, and is on pace to break multiple career offensive records for the Lady Scots.
Brown said given the depth of the team’s 2018 class, he has had plenty of time to transition to this season’s roster turnover. Consequently, plenty of talented newcomers are set to join Echols as regular contributors.
HP will open the season with two weekends of tough tournament competition before beginning District 11-5A play on Jan. 29 at Carrollton Newman Smith.
“January is going to be a big month for us. Hopefully, we’re on the right path,” Brown said. “It’s a very fresh and exciting dynamic for us this year. They’ve been very patient. Now it’s their turn to shine.”