The Stephenville High School Honeybees won’t get a chance to defend their Class 4A girls state soccer championship, but they did dominate the all-District 6-4A girls soccer voting this week, including all seven player superlative awards.
The Honeybees, who also had won the Class 4A crown in 2017, had their sights set on winning three out of four state championships — something that had never happened in the history of Texas girls UIL soccer. But, with the season being been shut down in March and eventually canceled entirely by the UIL because of the COVID-19 pandemic precautions, the 18-1-1 and second-ranked Honeybees won’t get that chance.
The 2020 all-district voting was done on Monday via Zoom among the coaches from the three schools — SHS, Brownwood and Mineral Wells.
Stephenville’s Ciara Johnston was voted as the Overall Most Valuable Player — for the second year in a row. Also for the Honeybees, Gracie Bales is the 2020 Offensive MVP, Beatris Chavarria is the Midfielder MVP, Courtney Langley is the Defensive MVP and Madison Wyly is the Goalkeeper MVP. Wyly was last year’s Defensive MVP, and Bales and Chavarria were also repeat superlative winners in their respective categories.
Also, the district’s Newcomer of the Year awards went to Tori Cameron for offense and Shawna Morrow for defense.
Other first-team all-district honors were earned by Claire Choate, Jimena Espinoza and Brinkley Harlow.
The Honeybees who made second-team all-district are Daisy Richards, Cheney Carrillo, Bailie Atchley and Abby Harrison.
Honorable mention players for SHS are Brook Langford and Autumn Seeman.
Head coach Casey Weil is the district’s Coach of the Year, for the third consecutive year.
The Honeybees had clinched the league title with a 5-0 mark when the season was shut down — with one game remaining before the start of the playoffs. Brownwood was runner-up at 2-2, while Mineral Wells was third at 05.
Weil said the Honeybees began the season at No. 1 in the state in the Texas Girls Coaches Association rankings, and were second behind Midlothian Heritage at the end.
He said he thought that the district voting went the way it should have.
“I did, with the way the year went and how successful we were, with only one goal allowed (in district),” said Weil, who was named as the TGCA girls soccer Coach of the Year for all classifications after his Bees won the 2019 title and finished with a 25-1-2 record. “I felt that our girls were rewarded for their efforts.”
Johnston had been named as the MVP of the 2019 state tournament in Georgetown. Beam, and all-state honors were earned by Wyly, Johnston and Chavarria.
Chavarria and Johnston had been on the all-state team as freshmen in 2017, and Chavarria and Johnston were first-team all-state.
The core group of seniors, most of whom also played key roles as freshmen on the 2017 state championship team, were denied the chance to make history with a third title in four years.
Weil said that he heard either by phone or text from most of the players after they got word that the UIL canceled the rest of the 2020 spring sports events. The tears were plentiful — and not just from the players.
“I cried for two days, like a baby,” Weil said, adding, “It was like somebody ripped my heart out. You don’t even get to say goodbye (in person). That makes it even more difficult.”
Weil compared his team to having a child, and noted the hard work put in by the players, “not just this year, but the past four years. I see these girls more than I see my own two girls.”
Weil, who was also the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Girls Soccer Coach of the Year in 2019, said he won’t forget what the 2020 Honeybees might have accomplished.
“I’ll wonder about it the rest of my life — what could have been,” Weil said.
The seniors who will be lost to graduation are Madison Wyly, Beatris Chavarria, Claire Choate, Haleigh Beam, Jimena Espinoza, Daisy Richards, Brinkley Harlow, Cheney Carrillo, Ciara Johnston, Gracie Bales, Courtney Langley, Bailie Atchley and Autumn Seeman.
Three of the Bees are planning to play college soccer, including Richards with Sul Rose State University in Alpine and Bales going to Hardin-Simmons in Abilene. Johnston has drawn interest from several colleges, but has not made a decision.
Note: Player photos are courtesy of Vasara Photography.