Tigers to kick off district

The Sealy Tiger soccer team will play its first District 20-4A match Friday against the Hempstead Bobcats on Mark A. Chapman Field at T.J. Mills Stadium searching for its first win of the season. Sealy has started the regular season on an 0-5-1 clip where it was shut out in all five losses following a season-opening draw.

Despite the scores and the record, Head Coach Josh Kirton said the Tigers have played well in other facets of the game and have created plenty of scoring opportunities but have yet to capitalize on them.

“These kids, it didn’t matter if they played five minutes in the tournament or if they played every minute, they worked their tails off and they got better. The system that we’re trying to employ, they’re understanding it better now, they’re playing for each other. The only thing we’re missing is just scoring goals,” Kirton said Monday. “But that will come with time … we start district play Friday, so we’re confident that we’re going to be able to get them going.”

He also said the team has not been pleased with their performance even though they saw positives in other areas.

“They took it hard, they’re competitors; they want to win. It’s not like we lost and they were just laughing, they’re hungry for it. They want to change the tide too,” Kirton said.

Sealy had its next opportunity to end the scoreless streak Friday against Hempstead after a full week of practice that the head coach looked forward to taking advantage of.

“It’s going to be a lot of shooting and finishing drills,” Kirton said of this week’s practice plan. “Just to reinforce that skill set and let these kids know and build that confidence up in practice so when we’re presenting them with these opportunities in a game, it’s kind of like second nature instead of being a rush of emotion or adrenaline at that moment.”

Leading up to the district-opening game Friday, Kirton said the focus will remain on the fundamentals of the sport.

“Our focus is going to try to be able to crack our (scoreless streak) and score our goals. Just to build that confidence up, kind of get that monkey off our back,” Kirton said. “Build the confidence up of our team in general, just from not only scoring goals, but getting a win. And then also, we’re going to really strive to keep a clean sheet and not concede a goal because every game we’ve played so far, we’ve conceded a goal and a lot of that is due to self-inflicted mistakes and us giving them goals.”

The head coach hopes the first district win will serve as the first step toward completing the ultimate goal of claiming the District 20 crown.

“My goal is to challenge for a district title. That’s where the bar is set,” Kirton said. “That’s my mentality. I’m not satisfied with just making the playoffs, I want to go compete and try to win the title. We’re going to take a one-game-at-a-time approach (and it starts against Hempstead).”

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