When the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Organization produced its ranking of the top teams in Class 4A, three of them came from Byron Nelson’s district.
The Lady Bobcats, Denton Guyer and Birdville were all ranked. Not only is the district loaded, so is Region I. Nelson (14-2-4, 4-0-3) has already clinched a playoff spot in District 5-4A but is trying for the district championship.
What makes the playoff race even more interesting is that those top three teams have already beaten each other up. Nelson and Guyer tied in their two meetings. Nelson defeated Birdville before Friday’s matchup. Birdville defeated Guyer in the first meeting.
Of course, Denton Guyer is the defending Class 4A state champions. The Lady Wildcats knocked off the Lady Bobcats in the Region I final.
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“That’s kind of the bad thing about this district is that we’re so loaded someone really good is going to get knocked out by the quarterfinals and two teams won’t make the state tournament,” Nelson coach Philip Salyer said. “Amarillo is a challenging team. We faced them. But everybody knows how tough our district is. That’s kind of the bummer about the whole thing.”
Nelson continued its season on Tuesday against Denton before playing Birdville. The Lady Bobcats’ two matches with Denton Guyer were pretty interesting. In the first meeting, Denton Guyer scored with three minutes to play to force a 1-1 tie. But in last Friday’s second meeting, Nelson rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force a tie.
With spring break approaching, the Lady Bobcats will play their final district match on March 18 against Argyle and will then have a week before getting ready for the playoffs.
“I think we’ve played Guyer better than last year,” Salyer said. “But we just have to keep pushing forward.”
The Lady Bobcats returned four major contributors from the regional finalist squad but lost eight major contributors.
Senior forward Madison Hall has enjoyed a prolific offensive season as she has scored 23 goals. She scored all three in the tie against Guyer. She has signed with the University of Arkansas.
There’s also been some solid contributions within the box between junior Bonnie Ruten and sophomore Tatum Hightower.
Meanwhile, senior defender Allie Rivers has signed with Oklahoma State.
The 2014 season has been a rebuilding campaign for coach Lincoln Hunt’s program. The Lady Texans (3-12, 2-7 in District 4-5A) likely are not going to make the playoffs. However, that’s not totally unexpected. Hunt anticipated a rebuilding job. Northwest played Carroll on Tuesday and plays host to Keller Timber Creek on Friday.
“We graduated nine seniors from last year’s team, so it’s having to replace the many kids and starters where you have to be more technical and tactical,” Hunt said. “We anticipated some growing pains.”
But there is a foundation mixed with junior defender Morgan Waters, sophomore midfielder Kennemer Mays and junior keeper Stasia Herskind.
“All of them have really stepped up and made great contributions and keeping us organized,” Hunt said. “This is just an opportunity for us to keep improving. We’re better than we were 15 games ago. Even if the work doesn’t pay off this year, it’s going to pay off next year.”