Bay City among teams eager to kick off season
Jan. 10, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 9, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
Another strong field will descend on Victoria this weekend to kick off the girls' soccer season.
The Crossroads Classic will be Friday and Saturday at three locations in town. The first of 25 games will kick off Friday at 10 a.m. when Victoria West hosts El Campo at Memorial Stadium.
In the 2012 edition of the tournament, more than half of the 12 participants were playoff teams from the previous year.
This year, the tournament expands to 14 teams, but the quality remains high. Nine of the 11 UIL programs entered qualified for the playoffs in 2012. St. Joseph, a TAPPS playoff team from last year, is also in the field.
Bay City was among the playoff teams from last year. Like El Campo and Calallen - both of which are in the Crossroads Classic this year - the Ladycats have a new coach.
Dorothy Ortiz replaces Darin Dablegott, but she has the same lofty expectations for the reigning District 47-4A champions, which return five starters.
The team's first contest under its new coach will be Friday at 10 a.m. when it plays Houston St. Agnes at the practice field adjacent to Patti Welder Stadium.
Bay City lost its first two games by a combined 10-0 score at the 2012 Crossroads Classic. The Ladycats went 13-0-2 throughout the rest of the regular season, before falling to Richmond Foster in the area playoffs.
"Coach Dablegott has a done a great job with these girls," said Ortiz, who previously spent two years at Keller Fossil Ridge. "Since he took over as coach, every year they have improved. Coming in, that's my goal as a coach, I want them to continue to improve and do things they have never done before. Everywhere, I've been I've been able to do that with teams I've coached. That's my goal as well."
Bay City athletic director Dan Burk said Dablegott will be an assistant for the boys team. The move allows Dablegott to watch his son, who is a freshman in the Blackcats soccer program.
"She was a great athlete," said Burk, who was Ortiz's powerlifting coach at New Braunfels Canyon. "She was real high energy and great with the kids. She also has a military background and is very disciplined. She is a great technician. Having been a great soccer player, she knows all the tricks to the trade. She's definitely a good hire."
Ortiz was a forward at Angelo State, but her philosophy is to have a good balance between the three lines on the field.
Bay City only allowed nine goals over its 15-game run last year, and Ortiz has indicated this year's team will not abdicate its defensive discipline.
Expect the Ladycats to be a versatile bunch in attack this year with returnees Madison McDonald and Rachel Schumacher interchanging with freshman LeJay Longoria and perhaps others.
Karina Clements, Haley Barnett and Makenzie Hamilton are the Ladycats' three other returning starters.
This weekend's Crossroads Classic will be one of three tournaments Bay City will compete in this season. In addition to creating their own history, Ortiz said one of the Ladycats' goals is to win a tournament.
If that is to happen, Bay City must navigate a bracket that includes an improving Victoria East team, as well as perennial playoff teams in Gregory-Portland and Flour Bluff.
"The kids are going to come in ready to compete and ready to accomplish one of our goals for the season," Ortiz said. "I know our kids are going to work hard over the next several weeks to achieve that goal."