Fort Worth Nolan Catholic has a proud tradition when it comes to girls soccer, and this may have been the best overall season for the program.
Though the squad fell short of its goal of a state championship, the Vikings received national recognition on the way to a 24-2-5 record.
2014 Star-Telegram Girls Soccer Super Team
F Gwennie Puente, Jr., FW Nolan Catholic: A first-team TAPPS all-state selection, she recorded 49 goals and 16 assists
F Esmeralda Gonzales, So., FW South Hills: Just a sophomore and considered by many to be the most talented player in the area, was named District 13-4A MVP for the second consecutive season.
F Grace Cory, Jr., Southlake Carroll: Scored 26 goals with 16 assists en route to District 4-5A MVP honors.
F Amanda Long, Sr., FW Arlington Heights: MVP of District 14-4A, Long was a consistent scoring threat during the Yellow Jackets’ historic run to the Regional Finals.
M Tori Bowman, Sr., Grapevine:Two-time District 6-5A MVP and twice a member of the Super Team, notched 13 goals and 3 assists this season.
M McKayla Paulson, Sr., Mansfield: A two-time Super Teamer and consecutive years as District 7-5A MVP, Paulson filled multiple roles for the Tigers, leading them to a 22-2-1 record.
M Tiffany Dang, Sr., Birdville: Two-time Midfielder of the Year in District 11-4A, had 10 goals with 21 assists this season.
D Allie Rivers, Sr., Byron Nelson: A key piece in Byron Nelson’s recent success, a two-time Super Team selection and named Defensive Player of the Year in District 11-4A two years running.
D Cassie Marciante, Jr., Keller: A smart defender with good range and a knack for reading the game, helped the Indians post 17 shutouts this season.
D Elise Landers, Sr. Southlake Carroll: Important part of a defense that allowed one goal about every four games; also added offensively with 3 goals and 3 assists.
GK Kate Mason, Sr. Keller: Veteran defender quarterbacked a young back line in front of her, posting a .55 goals against average while allowing more than one goal in a match only twice.
If not driving, but certainly steering, the Nolan ship this season was junior striker Gwennie Puente. The first-team TAPPS all-state selection racked up 49 goals and 16 assists, more than doubling her total of last season when she was also an all-state selection.
“She scored in many different ways. She scored with her head; she scored on breakaways, on long-range goals. She got herself in really good spots,” Nolan coach Jay Fitzgerald said.
“Her poise in and around the goal [were improved this season]. She had a little more confidence, a little more balance and coordination when taking shots. Her versatility around the goal changed. She’s a much better student of the game.”
Puente’s output also earned her national recognition, and she is among the nominees for the Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas, which will be announced later this month.
Fitzgerald has no doubt that Puente’s success on the field starts with her attitude toward training.
“She’s going to work hard, she’s going to leave it all out there. I think she thinks, ‘If I’ve got nothing to learn today, I’m done, I shouldn’t be doing this.’ So, she’s like a sponge. She’s taking information in. She treats training like it’s an actual game, and everyone feeds off that energy.”
Puente has already committed to Texas Tech, but the dynamic forward still has another year with the Vikings.
“Next year, I’m more excited than ever because she’s obviously gotten better every single year and she’s going to want to top that,” Fitzgerald said.