The Mansfield girls soccer team was one of the highest scoring in District 7-5A and it helped them forge a 13-1 league record and punch their ticket to the playoffs.
But, with the one loss to Midlothian and a single goal differential shy of the Panthers’ total in district play, Mansfield shares the district championship with Midlothian but enters the bi-district round of the playoffs as the second seed.
When Mansfield beat DeSoto 8-0 last Friday, it would have been hard to believe the goal differential wouldn’t be quite enough. In fact, Mansfield outscored its last three opponents 22-0.
As it is, the Lady Tigers will travel to Temple for their first round game on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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Mansfield head coach Jay Zeller said the success for his Lady Tigers this season has much to do with experience.
“We returned so many from last year, it was an easy adjustment for this year,” Zeller said. “We didn’t have to get to know each other on and off the field. As a team, we’re very mature, individually and as a team.”
Not being able to nab a second straight outright district title was unfortunate, Zeller said, but kudos were given Midlothian for being a quality team.
Mansfield has beaten Midlothian twice in three tries this season, with all three game scores being 1-0.
“It’s good to have Midlothian in our district,” Zeller said. “They’re just good battles and it’s hard to beat a team three times.”
Although Mansfield may be a little disappointed about having to share a district title, they aren’t likely to let the circumstance hinder their preparations for the playoffs.
“We’ll get back on our horse, and if the girls are anything like their coach, they’ll have the determination to go forward,” Zeller said. “The title means nothing to a playoff run. We have to take care of business.”
Mansfield was working to get scouting on Temple, as the teams have not met this season.
“We’ll just show up and play our game and adjust as needed,” Zeller said.
With a win over Temple, Mansfield would take on the winner of the Grapevine vs. Coppell playoff game. Those two will square off on Friday at Coppell.
Mansfield has played neither of those two teams, as well, but Zeller has seen them play and knows they are both quality squads.
“If we’re fortunate to get there,” Zeller said of a second-round game, “it would be a good win. We’ve got to be on our game, though. We match up well.”
The second round games would not be held until at least the following Thursday, as the UIL will prohibit games during the STARS testing period.
• In 4A, the teams will begin the first round on Tuesday.
Lake Ridge will move forward to the postseason to take on Stephenville on Tuesday at 5:30 pm at Aledo.
Legacy, which got past Summit last week to take the final playoff spot, will be at R.L. Anderson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to take on Joshua.
Results from games on Tuesday can be found at www.dfwvarsity.com.