PANTHER OF THE WEEK: Katie Wilson showing her versatility
By Lance Catchings
It seems that year after year the influx of freshman talent on the Liberty Hill girls’ soccer team has one standout player.
Last year, there were multiple freshmen who came in and made an immediate impact. This season, that trend has continued, and Head Coach Darren Bauer said on this year’s team that player is freshman Katie Wilson.
“Katie has stepped up in a big way for us this year,” Bauer said. “Losing Courtney Peterson to graduation from last year as an attacking right back was huge for us and Katie filled that role. Through injuries this season we moved her over to the right wing and she has excelled at the position. As a freshman to come in and fill those roles and let us move her around the way we did has been beneficial for us. To still have the confidence we have in her is incredible. She is hard working and will give you everything she has during every game. She will be a player to watch in our future.”
Wilson said her history playing the game is something that has made her a more versatile player.
“I have been playing right midfield and forward a lot lately for my team,” Wilson said. “I can also play defender and outside back. I have played soccer since I was around 17 years old and I am 15 now. I play club soccer for Lonestar, so I feel I came in with a pretty good soccer background.”
She initially hoped for a shot to make the varsity team but had some apprehension being in a new situation.
“Coming into the program this year I had heard the girls were pretty good and when I was in junior high, I would come watch their games every now and then,” she said. “I did not really expect to be on varsity this season and playing as much as I am, but I was hoping I would get an opportunity. The tryout process was a little intimidating at first. I didn’t know any of the upperclassmen, so everything was new to me. Now I have gotten more comfortable around them and I know how they play, which has made it a lot easier.”
Liberty Hill High School plays a possession style of soccer and many new players can have trouble adjusting. Wilson was not one of those players, and her biggest concern has been making sure she is doing her part to reach the program’s high expectations.
“At Liberty Hill we do play a style of soccer that is different than what many people are used to, but I don’t feel like I had any problems adjusting to the style of play,” she said. “The biggest thing I had to adjust was the pressure I placed on myself. I knew coming in that I did not want to make too many mistakes. Learning about my teammates and becoming better teammates with them has done a lot to ease that. I feel happy that I am contributing to the team in a positive way.”
Through 18 games this season, Wilson has accumulated 32 total points. She has scored 10 goals and added 12 assists to reach that number.
“District play has been fun,” she said. “The competition has not been that great, but the experience has been good overall. I feel my game has improved a lot this year. My passing, shooting and touches have all improved. I think that is because we practice so much. We have some great team leaders and upperclassmen on this team that have helped guide me along the way.”
As a freshman, Wilson has been put to the test against many older more experienced varsity players and she will face more as Liberty Hill continues throughout the playoffs.
“At times it is hard adjusting to the older larger and stronger girls, but I just tell myself to get over it,” she said. “I enjoy the speed of the game and that my teammates know what to do when we have the ball. I am looking forward to the playoffs and the opportunity to go all the way to state. I think our biggest challenge going forward will be adjusting to better teams.”
Wilson and her teammates traveled to play Little River Academy Tuesday and will face off with Salado Friday night. They host Burnet at home Tuesday and wrap up the regular season March 19 against Lampasas.