Lady Cat trio can't get away from soccer
Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 27, 2004 -- While some of her fellow students were at the beach for spring break, and others ventured to their chosen destinations, Kaleigh Thompson was stuck in Paris ...France that is.

Thompson was standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, and although many would think that soccer would be the last thing on the senior's mind, it was hard to get away from it, particularly being in southern Europe, one of the hotbeds for the sport.

Thompson sported some new indoor soccer cleats she bought overseas, blue ones of course, that she will use during summer competition. The Sulphur Springs midfielder said she thought a lot about the game during her trip.

"We saw people playing on a soccer field when we were on the Eiffel Tower, so we took a picture," Thompson said. "We got on the metro, and a bunch of French soccer players came on and were jumping up and down yelling that they had just won. It was cool."

Thompson has played soccer ever since she was five years old, but the game lost some of its aura, and she decided not to play last season. It took that year of being away from the game for her to realize how much she missed it.

The competition and the love of the game were too much for Thompson to overcome, so she came back out for the team to play for new coach J.J. Williams. She said that although the game lost some of its luster at one point, that she's never regretted the decision of returning.

"I like the speed and the intensity of this game, but it got to where it wasn't much fun for me at one point," Thompson said. "It didn't take long for me to want to come back. I heard Coach Williams was a good coach, so I decided to return."

Thompson has scored a couple of goals this season, one that has seen the Lady Wildcats win the first district title in their four-year existence, and she's turned into an important part of the offense. Thompson said she knew this team would be a force to be reckoned with after a district game at Texas High, one in which Williams was given a red card for questioning the officiating.

"Once that happened to coach, we got upset," Thompson said. "We stepped up our play in the second half of that game, and nothing was going to stop us."

Thompson plans to attend either Texas A&M or Abilene Christian and major in physical therapy.

SSHS has a shot at becoming the first team in school history to become area champions, and it does nothing but make Denise Bautista's eyes light up, and the smile can't be wiped off her face.

Bautista can be found on the left side of the field playing defense, a group that will be looked upon more than any other to get the job done and help the team advance as far as it can in the playoffs. Bautista said the team's togetherness will allow it to go as far as it can in the postseason.

"When we give a complete effort and play like a team, there's no limit to how successful we can be," Bautista said. "We've learned a lot of new things this year, at least I know I have."

Bautista has been playing soccer for two years, but the sport grew on her quickly. She said a big factor has been the team's ability to get along, and that although some players are better than others and have more soccer skills, that they don't put themselves on a higher pedestal.

The mental aspects of soccer can have just as much an impact as the physical, as Bautista was quick to point out. She said there's nothing this team can't do when it puts its mind to it.

"One thing I love about this team is that it never gives up," Bautista said. "We don't put our heads down when things don't go our way and know that anything is possible when we hit the field.

"Our job as a defense is to not have any goals scored on us, and that means we must have good ball control when it does come our way. Communication is the key, as we must constantly talk to each other on the field and play as aggressive as we can."

It should come as no surprise that Capobianco is a native Floridian, as she sports a tan that many people would die for. The senior returned to the Sunshine State over spring break to visit her older sister, and coming from the state's largest city of Jacksonville to Sulphur Springs was no doubt a culture shock.

Capobianco's father has been in the Navy for 20 years, while her grandparents live in Lewisville, so having some family here made it a bit easier for the then-freshman.

"It was a hard transition at first," Capobianco said. "We were told before we even came here that it was a nice town, and the people I've been around have been great to me."

Capobianco has been a fixture on the right side of the defense and has a solid shot of continuing her game at the college level if she so desires. She said she got into the game if for no other reasons than because it seemed like a big sports school and that it got her involved with her classmates.

Only seniors can understand the feelings heading into every game knowing it can be their last. For Capobianco, there will be no holding back.

"I know our last game will have to come at some point, and I'm going to miss soccer, because it's been such a big part of my life since I moved here."

All eight of his seniors play significant roles on how the team functions on a daily basis, and these three are no different. Williams said his seniors and the underclassmen must mesh together on a consistent basis, and that for the most part, they've been successful in doing so.

"Kaleigh and Denise have been great for me, because I've been able to use them as utility players," Williams said. "I can move them from defense to center/midfield, left or right. They bring valuable experience to this team from a standpoint that they know what they have to do as far as controlling the ball and getting us in the positions we need to be to score.

"Caroline was probably the biggest transition I had coming in as coach, because Coach Weaver had her playing a different position last year. We needed another strong presence on defense, so we stuck her on the right side, and she's started every game there ever since.

"All three of these girls are quick, physical and can control the ball once it gets in their zone. They're going to leave a tremendous hole for us next year that our younger players are going to have to step up and fill."

There is nothing guaranteed for this particular trio and their teammates except one more game. It all depends on them how far they'll go in the playoffs.

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