Much of the talk recently around Trophy Club Nelson soccer has been about the girls team. The Bobcats have made runs to the regional tournament in recent years.
This year, the boys team has quietly put together a stellar season of its own.
“The girls have proven the last few years they’re a really great team, so we’ve kind of taken the attitude that we want to get up there with the girls,” Nelson boys coach Howard Putter said.
So far in 2014, the girls have posted a record of 15-2-5 (5-0-4 District 11-4A) — a winning percentage of .882. The boys’ record of 18-1-3 (7-0-2 district) is slightly better at .947.
“Every year the kids have been working a little harder and dedicating themselves a little bit more,” Putter said. “I knew we had an opportunity to be pretty good. Game after game, we’ve been taking care of business.”
Much of the success for the Bobcats this season starts on defense. Two of Nelson’s returning defensemen have missed much of the season to injury, but the team has forged what Putter calls the best defense since he’s been at the school, allowing only 10 goals in 23 matches.
“In soccer you can dominate the whole game and only win 1-0, so if you have a good defense behind you, that’s a big plus,” he commented.
Unlike most districts, 11-4A voted to take the entire week off for spring break. That means Nelson has one final district game March 18 at Argyle before moving into the playoffs the following week.
With just one game in two weeks, the Bobcats should be well rested and healed from some of their injuries for the postseason.
“We have an opportunity over spring break to get everybody healthy and back,” Putter said. “We have two weeks to get things figured out. I’m hoping the kids take their breaks and come back ready to work. And they have, all year long.”
Arlington High senior forward Reggie Gonzalez broke the school mark for career goals when he scored in the Colts’ 2-1 victory over Fort Worth Paschal on Friday. Gonzalez has 51 career goals, including 16 this season. He also has nine assists for the Colts, who are 14-4-2 overall and 8-4 in District 3-5A.
Last season, many considered 11-4A the state’s toughest district in girls soccer, and not much has changed. In the latest Texas Association of Soccer Coaches state rankings, 11-4A teams Birdville, Denton Guyer and Nelson are ranked in the top six.
“They have more club players and more depth than we do,” Birdville coach Eddie Brown said of Guyer and Nelson. “We just know that we have to play our game and we have to be mistake-free.”
Birdville (19-2-2) has been eliminated from contention for the district title, and Brown points to a loss at Argyle that derailed the team’s chances. The Hawks allowed two goals in the final eight minutes to lose 3-2. Brown said it was indicative of one of his team’s weaknesses — not being able to finish games.
“The teams that we play, you know it’s going to be tough to hold up a 1-0 lead,” he said.
While a district title would be nice, the Hawks have eyes on a deep playoff run.
“District championship is a goal, but it’s not the ultimate thing we’re playing for,” Brown said. “Sure, we’d like to win a district championship, but we also know that once we get into the tournament it’s all about matchups. And to be honest, in this region, if you look at the matchups, I think you might be better off finishing two or four than finishing one or three.”
Brown pointed out that last season Birdville finished third in district and faced a district runner-up and two district champions in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
“That’s a tough go of it,” he added.
He also feels like the Hawks’ 2014 version is better built to work as a team. Brown felt the team may have relied on a few key players too often last season.
“Our girls took the approach that we’re going to have to do this more as a team than we ever have,” he said. “We’re going to have to defend collectively and offensively we’re going to have to pick up the slack and not rely on any one person. To the girls’ credit, they’ve done exactly that.”