The low point for Myers Park's soccer team in 2007, at least for then-junior Justin Davis, came in early October against rival South Mecklenburg High.
The Sabres had eliminated Myers Park in the playoffs the year before, and the Mustangs wanted some revenge on their home field. South Meck proceeded to score two goals in less than five minutes to start the game and romped to an eventual 6-1 win.
“It was embarrassing,” Davis said.
This year, Myers Park looks like a team that wants to reclaim its status atop the rugged Southwestern 4A conference. A 7-1 win against Independence last week put the Mustangs at 6-0, including wins over tough non-conference opponents such as Charlotte Latin and North Meck.
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For coach Bucky McCarley, who's in his seventh season at Myers Park, the difference so far this year is leadership. Last year, McCarley said, some laziness corrupted the team, and Myers Park stumbled to a 9-8-2 record. This year, the seniors have led by example and put the focus on each game at hand.
“What they haven't said is fantastic,” McCarley said.
It's been more than just seniors, like midfielder Davis and defenders Ruben Perez and Spencer Monroe, fueling the fast start this season. Freshmen brothers Erick and Diego Suarez and junior midfielders Casey Caronis and Patrick Lipps have also provided a spark.
The grind of the conference season, though, hasn't yet arrived, and McCarley knows that will bring the true test to Myers Park this year.
“It's a game every single night,” McCarley said. “It's taxing physically. It's taxing mentally …
“It's after that adversity when we'll find out if we're any good.”