Panthers look to improve as playoffs near

03/10/2014 2:57 PM

03/10/2014 2:58 PM

The Colleyville Heritage boys soccer team went 0-1-1 last week but still finds itself solidly in playoff contention, and coach Adam Phillips said he believes the Panthers will be ready when the postseason arrives.

Colleyville Heritage was set to square off with R.L. Turner at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday night, and Phillips said he expected a tough game.

“It's going to be very competitive again,” Phillips said last weekend. “Right now, they are in third place and we are in second, so they will be trying to knock us out. I think we beat them 5-3 the first time, and it probably should have been 5-1. They are a good team, and they move the ball well. It should be an intense match.”

In spite of losing 3-2 to Nimitz on Friday night, Phillips said it was not a poor effort from his team.

“We played well,” Phillips said. “We were leading. We just have to make sure that we can finish off a team. It was kind of the same case with Irving last Tuesday. We were leading that game as well, and ended up tying 2-2. We just have to close out games.

“The Nimitz game was intense. With the fans and atmosphere, it was like a playoff game.”

Colleyville Heritage is entered spring break 7-2-3 in the district standings and in second place behind Nimitz.

Phillips said that he is optimistic about his team's chances once the Panthers get into the playoffs.

“I think we're going to do well,” Phillips said. “We can score, which, to me, is the hardest thing to do in soccer. We can do that pretty well. We just have to finish out teams and make sure that we don't give up goals because of our own mistakes.

“You don't want to discount other teams, but I feel that we have given up a lot of goals because of small and correctable mistakes.”

With spring break this week, Phillips is going to give his players a little bit of a break.

“We do have a few days off,” he said. “I did give them a training regimen to follow, but a lot of them are going on vacation. We will practice later in the week when more people are back in town.”

Phillips said there are a couple of areas where he would like to see his team improve as the postseason gets closer.

“I think you can always improve on possession,” Phillips said. “I tell my boys that we can always play faster, as well. There are a few things we need to work on, but nothing major.”

•  Over at Grapevine, the Mustangs will take on Irving MacArthur at 7:15 p.m. on March 18 at Irving Schools Stadium after spring break.

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