Photo by Gerald Castillo
Finch, Holechek end careers with Lady Rattlers on senior night
Mary Finch and Emily Holechek first teamed up in the fourth grade.
Finch was joining the Chargers, a select team coached by Holechek’s father that played at Five Mile Dam Soccer Complex. The two continued to play on and off each other’s club teams for the next five years.
When Holechek reached high school, she joined head coach Jason Carnley’s team right away, though she was a bit anxious.
“Of course, I was kind of nervous joining the team because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be fit enough to fit in,” Holechek said. “But I just came in and fit well.”
Finch was even less sure.
“I wasn’t planning on joining, actually,” Finch said. “Emily and Abigail (Leon), they were on this team and so, that kind of encouraged me. My parents really pushed me because I’d been playing soccer my whole life. So they wanted to see me develop even more and utilize my ability on this team. And then I met Carnley, he’s a great coach. And so I was automatically like, ‘OK, yeah, this is a good fit.’”
Finch and Holechek, as well as Leon, were moved up to varsity immediately. Finch and Holechek have started in every game since, helping extend San Marcos’ playoff streak to five-straight seasons.
The era came to an end on Friday night. The Lady Rattlers fell to New Braunfels Canyon inside San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium, 7-0. The hosts finished the season at 7-15-4 overall and 3-11 in district. Finch and Holechek played their last game and the team was not returning to the postseason.
“I’ve been using the same word over and over. ‘Unlucky is the word I want to say,” Carnley said. “I knew this district was going to be extremely tough. We practiced for it, we worked real hard for it and the end result is not, sometimes, what the scoreboard shows.”
Carnley explained that the Lady Rattlers’ record doesn’t show what his team was able to accomplish this year. San Marcos beat two teams at the Waller Classic in Houston earlier this season. Fulshear (12-0) and Aldine (11-0-2) went undefeated during their respective district schedules. The Lady Rattlers also improved during league play, winning just one game in the first cycle and two in the second.
The head coach said that the disappointing finish also shouldn’t take away from the work his players put in. Finch was the 27-5A Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, 14-6A Utility MVP as a sophomore and 14-6A District MVP as a junior, earning first team All-District honors each season. Holechek was a two-time honorable mention for the All-District team.
“I’ve seen myself grow a lot. Especially because it’s a lot of hard work to keep pushing through, especially for four years,” Holechek said. “I learned how to be more confident and to just try and push myself, especially when it’s offseason, to continue to work out, to come to practice every single day, and during season, just to keep pushing no matter what, try to improve myself, try to improve with the team.”
In addition to Finch, Holechek and Leon, San Marcos will lose another 10 seniors from this year’s varsity squad in Irene Diocares, Danielle Hernandez, Mia Martinez, Desiree Perez, Daisy Rios, Angel Rodriguez, Geraldine Rubio, Mariyan Sosa, Alyssa Villanueva and Ariana Villegas. The Lady Rattlers will return 11 underclassmen next season.
Finch and Holechek said they’ll miss the friendships that they’ve built with their teammates. Finch will attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall as a human development and family sciences major. Holechek will study biology at Texas State. Both plan to join an intramural soccer team while in college.
“And maybe ultimate frisbee,” Finch added.
Carnley will begin the process of filling the holes the seniors leave behind on Tuesday. He hopes he can find players who match the intensity of his upperclassmen.
“It’s going to be hard to fill those shoes,” Carnley said. “It’ll be very hard next year knowing the district we’re still going to be in. Thirteen of them are going to be leaving us. It’s going to be very hard to figure out how to replace them … We’re gonna have to figure it out, hit the weightroom, hit the ball skills, work on everything in the book.”