Lady Bears seniors talk about strong soccer legacy; program impacts

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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LITTLE CYPRESS — Three seniors took the field for the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears soccer team this season.

While Sarah Hormell, Annabelle Fisher and Mariah Ammons have donned the green-and-gold for the last time, they have four years’ worth of memories to look back on.

Although Hormell had never played soccer before she entered high school, she quickly discovered how impactful the sport would be for her. She said her time with the Lady Bears means a lot since it’s the only team she’s ever played on.

“Soccer was kind of like my escape,” Hormell said. “When I play, it’s just my time to have fun. I really enjoy what I’m doing on the field and not having to stress about all the other stuff going on, especially as a senior.”

Hormell also spoke about the dynamics of being a leader. She recalled looking to older players for guidance during her early years, and said it’s been a good experience to become the mentor and take younger teammates under her wing.

“Once I hit my junior and senior year, I really formed bonds with the underclassmen because they kind of looked up to me,” she said. “Things really came together. If they needed something I was always there, and vice versa.”

Soccer has always been a focus for Fisher — she can’t imagine her life without it. She grew up attending Lady Bears games, so she’s spent much of her life around the program.

“For all four years, I’ve been wanting to go for it,” she said. “It really meant a lot to get to go to the regional tournament, and it was good to see some of the girls step up. And we all had fun staying in the hotels together, going to eat as a team or just doing our hair on the bus. It’s just been a fun time.”

While Fisher had mostly developed her skills through years of club soccer, her experience with LCM still taught her some valuable lessons.

“I think it helped me a lot to grow as a leader on the field,” she said. “Playing here has helped me grow and see things differently. I think I’m a better person now, too.”

Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s fourth-round playoff appearance this season was the school’s second-best finish on record. Ammons is proud to have been a part of that effort.

“It’s kind of mind-blowing to think that we made LCM history,” she said. “In the moment, it didn’t feel like we made history, but we did. It’s pretty cool to be a part of that and be able to spend longer on the field with my teammates. It’s just hard to imagine not being able to play with these girls ever again.”

When asked what made her experience with LCM soccer so special, Ammons explained the team feels like a family. While teammates may come and go each year, the sport provided a chance to connect with peers and make lifelong friendships.

“I used to be really shy,” Ammons said. “I didn’t always want to have contact with a lot of people, but soccer really helped bring me out of my shell. I was able to connect to people and found that I wanted to do that more, so that’s been nice.”

LCM Head Coach Lauren Martin said her seniors were an exceptional group to coach.

“They’re very talented, not only in soccer but also outside of it,” Martin said. “They really bonded together to be strong leaders. They were just great examples on and off the field — very positive and uplifting, so we’re really going to miss them next season.”

Although they’ve played their final games in an LCM uniform, all three girls have bright futures ahead of them. Hormell plans to attend McNeese State University and enter the pre-veterinary program.

Fisher will continue her journey as a student-athlete at Texas State University, playing soccer for the Bobcats while she studies nutrition. She hopes to become a dietician for athletes.

Finally, Ammons plans to pursue a psychology degree at LeTourneau University, where she will also continue her soccer career at the collegiate level.

— Written by Keagan Smith